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Death of a farmer: the fortunes of war and the strange case of Ray Walden

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The sweeping powers necessitated by World War Two emergency conditions are illustrated by the tragedy which unfolded when one farmer, Ray Walden of Itchen Stoke, refused to plough up a large portion of his farm at the insistence of the Hampshire County War Agricultural Executive Committee. The committee finally decided to dispossess him of his farm, and an attempt to evict him followed, but Walden opened fire on the police officers. A one-night siege was followed by the shooting of the 65-year-old bachelor inside his own farm house. He died in hospital. The coroner's verdict was 'justifiable homicide'. The paper sets out the structures of power, the setting of this agricultural conflict, reconstructs the narrative of events and offers an evaluation.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Agricultural History Review is the leading journal for the publication of original research in all aspects of agricultural and rural history. First published in 1953, the Review reflects the diversity of approaches which are possible in rural history. Its editors welcome submissions in any aspect of the history of agriculture, rural society and rural economy over the past millennium. Whilst it is not concerned with current policy debates, it is interested in considering discussions of the historical dimensions of current problems in rural society and food supply. The Review is especially strong in British rural history, but actively seeks submissions in European and American rural history and has no bar on submissions concerning the remainder of the world. It is also the journal of record for book reviews in the discipline.

    Agricultural History Review has an international editorial board. The current editors are Professor P. S. Warde, University of Cambridge, UK, who is responsible for articles, and Dr J. E. Morgan, University of Bristol, UK, who serves as editor for book reviews. The Review is fully peer-refereed.

    Agricultural History Review is published by the British Agricultural History Society from whom personal subscriptions may be obtained.
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