Here’s a happy sow and her piglets at Manor Farm near Bursledon. During our tour of the farm animals, Little Minnow loved throwing pig nuts into their concrete sty. We discovered that this wouldn’t have been an option during WWII, because animal feeding stuffs were redirected for human consumption. Instead, ‘Pig Clubs’ were started: the members would pool their money to buy a piglet, share the labour to care for it, supply the kitchen scraps to be cooked up into pig swill to feed it, then share the meat when it was slaughtered. But it takes a lot of kitchen scraps to feed a pig and under wartime rationing, there wasn’t a lot to spare.
One enterprising Hampshire resident found a novel way to keep his hogs fed. Les Harness, of Grange Park Northington, was a regular visitor to the various U.S. camps around Alresford collecting their kitchen leftovers. A mess meal for a GI looked like almost a week’s worth of rations to the British and I’ve read that people were horrified when they saw the Americans stub out their cigarettes on leftover food on their plates. But Hambone Junior’s comrades were generous, even helping Les with his petrol ration when they spent three weeks away from Alresford training under canvas, so that he could carry on collecting all the waste food for his pigs. Les repaid their generosity when the men were upset by Hambone Junior’s death in a road accident a few weeks before D-Day. He gave them a puppy from a litter which had recently been born at Northington Grange. They named their new pet ‘Spider’ and it was young Spider who departed for Southampton and Normandy with the 47th Regiment in June 1944.
Wartime Farm: rediscovering the skills of World War II, P. Ginn, R. Goodnam and A. Langlands
About Alresford THE 47TH U.S. INFANTRY IN ALRESFORD, H.C. and F.M. Kent