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Our History

No substitute for experience.

1924 - G. Whyles – Arable & Livestock farmers

We are a family business who have been farming in our home county of Lincolnshire since 1924 and trading in agricultural machinery since 1974. Now continued by the 3rd, 4th & 5th generations we have established ourselves as a leading supplier of not only agricultural machinery but nationwide distributors of wearing parts/brackets and haulage and agricultural equipment. In 2010 our new trading name Agri-Linc was launched to drive our trading division forward whilst continuing to farm under the traditional partnership of G. Whyles & Sons.

So, time for a bit of reminiscing.  Over the last few weeks, here in the Marketing Department we’ve been leafing through the family albums and wedging blunt knives behind lethal pins holding together photo-frames that haven’t been opened since the 1960s. Now I present to you the fruits of our labours – a blog on the 94-year history that Agri-Linc Ltd can call our own.

While Lenin had died in Russia, and Hitler was being sentenced to five years for treason in Landsberg Prison, my great-great grandfather George Whyles began farming an approximately 260-acre area of the Grimsthorpe & Drummond Estate, near Edenham, for livestock and arable use.  The 1st generation of the farming family operated under the name of ‘G. Whyles’ and lived on the land, in the farmhouse next to where the Agri-Linc offices are now located.

Throughout the depression, George Whyles could not afford to pay George Whyles junior (his son and my great-grandfather) a reasonable wage.  Instead, he said George was welcome to as much of the farm’s game as he could catch, and so, George jnr. became a commendable huntsman, with a record of trapping 200 rabbits in one night, which he then sold for his livelihood.  He also became a skilled mole-catcher, skinning them and selling the skins to Horace Friend of Wisbech for ‘moleskin’ clothing.

During the 2nd World War, my great-great grandfather was exempt from service because farmers were required to work the land and feed the country.  He died in 1940, leaving a young George Whyles junior and his brother Tom to continue operations at Randalls Farm.  George, (now married to Grace Whyles) lived in a caravan for the first 3-4 years of his married life, as the remaining family lived in the farmhouse, which was divided into two dwellings.

Despite Edenham’s remote location, the war did have quite a profound effect on life on the farm.  The farm was host to several German and Italian P.O.W’s, one of whom who kept in contact with our family until the 1980’s.  They were treated very well and given extra rations of food – in return for this they made toys for nieces & nephews.  In my research, those I’ve spoken to emphasized that these prisoners were not Nazis, just conscripts who were glad the war was over for them. They could not comprehend the stories they heard about the concentration camps, they thought the pictures were of victims from the allied bombing raids.

One of them had been on submarines and told the family  how they had caught the ‘Queen Mary’ troop ship in their sights in the Atlantic, but she was too quick for them. The P.O.W said of that incident that ‘Britain’s biggest ship was nearly kaput’. The German prisoners worked very hard and appreciated the way they were cared for.

Other anecdotes of note include the time when Tom Whyles rescued a pilot from the wreckage of a crashed trainer plane.  The plane was upside down, (fortunately not burning) and the pilot was tangled in his parachute harness.  Tom Whyles used a pocket knife to cut the pilot free.   Another time, an RAF plane crashed about a mile away from the Farm and burst into flames.  The Fire Brigade managed to get the rear gunner out alive, but he died shortly after. George Whyles recalled the ammunition exploding in the heat, and they were told to keep well clear in case there were any bombs on board. During the Blitz of November 1940, despite Coventry being 65 miles away, from a hill on the farm the blaze could be seen, along with hordes of fighter planes.

In the 1950s, George & Grace raised two sons on the farm, Alan and Malcolm, the 3rd generation, who still operate in the business today. Malcolm is pictured here as a young boy helping at Harvest time – today, farmers and auctioneers know him for his loyal and unwavering attendance at many auctions in the area.

Besides the farming of the land for arable use, the farm was home to sheep and pigs, as well as George and Grace and their family.  The farm purchased their very first self-propelled combine harvester in 1963, which is pictured here in this aerial shot taken in the 1960s.

 

 

1974 - G. Whyles – Farmers & Agricultural Machinery Suppliers

A new McCormick harvester was purchased for £2,350 in 1968.  As George Whyles’ sons grew up and began to learn the business, the business expanded with them, and G. Whyles Arable & Livestock Farmers became G. Whyles Farmers & Agricultural Machinery Suppliers in 1974, laying the foundation stone for what would become Agri-Linc.

Aerial shot taken in 1971 – note the addition of the new grain store.  The Farming business continued to grow, as did the Whyles Family.  Malcolm’s sons, Ben and Jon, who today are Directors of the company, developed a natural affinity with the farm, after spending much of their childhood around it.  In the 1980s, Randalls Farm was also home to a herd of cattle.  In 1981, after an incredibly wet spring, a helicopter was called to the farm to help with drilling, as the land was too wet to hold up a tractor.

 

1991 - G. Whyles & Sons – Farmers & Agricultural Machinery Suppliers

In 1991, with the incorporation of George Whyles grand-sons (Ben and Jon) to the team, we became G. Whyles & Sons – Farmers & Agricultural Machinery Suppliers.  1995 was the last time that we ever had livestock on the farm, with the departure of the sheep, as it was felt that livestock was detracting from the more profitable business of Agricultural Machinery Dealing.

The family expanded again, and the 5th generation of the farming family were born. Growing up, the fifth generation, like all the generations before them, spent countless pleasurable hours at the farm, and came to the commendable conclusion that bottle-feeding lambs and revelling in the great outdoors is always the best kind of fun!  The grain-store was used to store Randalls’ harvest for the last time in 2005, something which I, as a member of the 5th generation, am lucky to be able to recall. Since that time, all our land has been farmed by contractors, and G. Whyles & Sons began to focus primarily on supplying Agricultural Machinery.

 

2010 - Agri-Linc - Trading name of G. Whyles & Sons. Agricultural Machinery, Parts & Haulage Equipment

Since then, the latter generations of the family have established ourselves as a leading supplier of agricultural machinery and nationwide distributers of wearing parts/brackets and haulage and agricultural equipment.  In 2010 our new trading name, Agri-Linc, was launched to drive our trading division forward whilst continuing to contract out the farming of the land under the traditional partnership of G. Whyles & Sons. In 2010, we also launched the ‘PROFORGE’ range of loader and handler brackets, which has rapidly developed into a hugely successful range of machinery, attachments and wearing parts, see : http://proforge.co.uk/ .

January 2013 Aerial Image – note the yard expanding to the left.

 

2017 - Agri-Linc - Agri-Linc becomes a limited company

In October 2017, Agri-Linc became a limited company, and in 2018, two members of the family’s 5th generation (Brook and myself) joined the Sales & Marketing Team here at Agri-Linc. Our latest aerial photo taken in August 2018 shows our further expansion as the business continues to grow and be known in the industry as ‘The Linc you can trust.’ This is an exciting progression forward for all of us, made possible for us by the support of thousands of loyal customers, both nationally and internationally.  We look forward to serving you for at least another 94 years!

By Jemima Whyles