Roland Breed

The following obituary first appeared in the Orwell Bulletin in December 2003

Roland Joseph Breed, who died on September 19th 2003, was born on July 30th 1918 to George and Alice Breed. They lived at 69 High Street where Roland’s brother Clifford lives to this day.

Roland grew up in the village and was a member of the church choir, carrying the cross, and for a time was a member of the church council, also helping with the bell ringing. He left school at fourteen to work on his father’s 65 acre smallholding at Lilac Farm. The farm already had a full-time worker who tended the horses but, as Roland became more interested, the regular worker was not best pleased and eventually handed in his notice. This left Roland’s father with a dilemma; either give up the farm or buy a tractor, and with money scarce at the time, this was a big decision to take. George having decided to purchase an old Fordson tractor and plough, Roland soon understood how it worked and could easily strip it down and reassemble it when required.

big fan of hunting, shooting and fishing

Roland was also a big fan of hunting, shooting and fishing – and not always where he should! He was once caught shooting on a neighbour’s land by the local ‘bobby’ and taken to the police house at Barrington, but the landowner was unconcerned and Roland was let off.

As the Second World War loomed Roland joined the Red Cross and earned several certificates for first aid. He also joined the newly-formed Home Guard. Red Cross work saw him looking after bed-ridden, elderly evacuees from London, spending nights with them in Orwell village hall. With this work, the Home Guard and farm work to do during the day, it’s a wonder he had any spare time for nocturnal activities!

He went 'late night rabitting'

It was during this time that Roland got to know the Davenport family, originally from Staffordshire, who lived at Manor Farm Wimpole, now known as Home Farm. He went ‘late night rabbiting’ with the brothers Jim and John, leading again to a lucky escape when hearing the voices of the gamekeeper and the landowner, Captain Bambridge, just over the hedge. The Davenports had three daughters, one of whom was Lizzie, also a Red Cross member. Roland and Lizzie married in 1947 and lived at Arrington. Son David was born in 1948, followed by Muriel in 1950. Roland worked hard on his father’s smallholding, slowly expanding the farm. The family moved to the High Street, Orwell, in 1959. Sadly, Roland’s father died the following year, leaving Roland and Clifford to carry on the farm with the help of David.

Roland was proud of his grandsons Christopher, who followed in his footsteps on the family farm upon leaving school, and Russell, who works away from the farm.

discovered his love of gardening or 'cutting everything down'

Health problems forced Roland to take early retirement in the 1980s, but with two new hips he was transformed and enabled to help out on the farm at busy times for another ten years. Roland would also help out in the kitchen, sweeping the floor and washing up, even before people had finished eating! It was in his retirement that he really discovered his love of gardening, or ‘cutting everything down’, much to everyone’s consternation. He particularly liked working at the front of the house to see what was going on and speak both to people he knew and to strangers.

This page was added by Pat Grigor on 19/11/2012.

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