The Field Marshall Club, now known as the Marshall Club, only exists today because of a special tractor, purchased by a mother for her two boys.
Ross and Peter Anderson lost their father Fred when Ross was just 14 months old, and Peter was still two months from being born. Their uncle Ted Pullen moved next door and played a prominent role in their lives.
He encouraged their interest in tractors and steam engines. Then, when Ross was nine and Peter was eight, he took them to see a Field Marshall Series 2 that was for sale.
“Mum (Jean Anderson) bought her for us for £35 and she came to us on November the 9th 1968,” remembered Ross. “We got her delivered on the train and then drove her the rest of the way home, and then stored her on the farm next door.”
“She was only 20 years old when we bought her, but we still rubbed her down all by hand with a wire brush, repaired a frayed decompression cable and a broken clutch cable. She was hand-painted by my uncle Harry Pullen who was a coach painter. She’s still got that paint – you can’t even see the brush strokes.
“Mum encouraged us a lot, and we took the Field Marshall to rallies and shows all over the country. I was into it, but Peter became a real fountain of knowledge about it.”
Founding the club
Inspired by the tractor, Peter founded the Field Marshall Club in 1988 with his friend Wally Hawkins.
“We thought it would just get 50 members, but it grew to over 500,” said Ross. “So the most important thing about our tractor is that it led to the foundation of the club.”
Peter even befriended Henry Marshall himself, who became a big supporter of the club. Peter would go on to write a newsletter and went to night school to improve his writing and spelling, improving so much that he went on to write two books about the Field Marshalls.
“Peter was told he would never amount to anything, but this tractor changed everything,” said Ross. “Without her, we could have become football hooligans or something, but instead we spent our time repairing and recycling with her.”
“She’s a very special tractor and she means a lot to us. I’ve had people come around and try to buy her, and one guy who even slammed down a blank cheque. I tore it up and said ‘you’ve not got enough money to buy this tractor’.”
Peter died five years ago, but ‘Bub’, as Ross calls the tractor after his nickname for Peter, will be making an appearance at the Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show on the 5th and 6th of November.
“It’s the 75-year anniversary of the Field Marshall Series II, so I’m planning to rub her down and take her out,” said Ross. “It feels fitting that I’m there to represent Peter, too.”