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This photograph will date to my father's earliest association with Warnford in the early 1930's when he leased the shooting from the then owner, Colonel Charles Woods. Having not been much cultivated since the Crimean War, the land was overrun with rabbits as evidenced by the 'bag' for 1934-35 which was recorded on a silver cigarette box given to my father by the members of the shoot that year:

Pheasants 2,052

Rabbits 8,566

Duck 216

Partridges 48

The number of rabbits shot only tells a small part of the story. In the 1930's, Albert and Arthur Mullard were employed as full-time rabbit catchers and their annual tally with ferrets and nets was in the region of 18,000.

My father used the shoot to entertain customers of Donald Macpherson, the paint company of which he was Chairman and Managing Director. These included senior executives from the gas industry who bought a lot of the company's heavy duty anti-corrosive paint! Pheasants soon superseded rabbits as the principal quarry and I remember hearing that by the late 1930's some 9,000 pheasant eggs were being incubated under broody hens each spring.

The following Game Card for 1934 includes both my father RP Chester and my uncle Harold, and one can see where my father has written 'Gas' next to three of the guns!

And finishing this post with a photograph of my father's labradors in the back of his Landrover.


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