WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

George Broadfield and Harry Fields

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George Broadfield

Harry Fields


Champions in their Field

The roots of professional wrestling lay in the countryside; it was only during the “Golden Age” at the beginning of the twentieth century that the likes of Georges Hackenschmidt, Tom Cannon and Jack Carkeek made wrestling a fashionable night out for the city folk.

The nickname of the Farmer has been attached to many professional wrestlers, some with more legitimacy than others. When it comes to George and Harry Broadfield they were the genuine article, brought up working on the land to help their parents, Henry and Jessie Broadfield on their farms in Middlestown near Wakefield and  Heybeck Lane, near Dewsbury.

George Broadfield

(Also known as The Farmers Boy, The Farmer

George Washington Broadfield was born in the West Riding village of Thornhill on 20th August, 1919. The farming heritage went back generations and no doubt Agricultural work built up the power to execute a fearsome elbow slam that could knock out an opponent and earned him the title “KO King.”  

Not that wrestling was his first love. As a youngster rugby was his favourite sport. In his mid teens George took up wrestling, and took to the sport like the proverbial fish to water. 

George was certainly wrestling professionally by 1937, more than likely a year earlier. Uncertainty occurs because the Farmers Boy name was used from the  beginning, but there were other Farmers Boys. Previous ones had worked in London and the south, in 1936 we find Farmers Boy working on northern programmes, so this was most likely George Broadfield. In 1937 George was described as “The new sensation” and boasted he drank sixteen pints of milk a day!

He received regular bookings from the outset and within a couple of years was facing the top names in the business. A powerful young man, no doubt aided by the farm work, the Farmer’s Boy tagline was dropped in the mid 1940s in favour of The Farmer. Bernard Hughes recalled “I saw George Broadfield, who was normally billed as The Farmer, at Newcastle. He was a very strong man, could be a bit rough, and won most of his matches by knockout.”

In 1946 the Daily Mirror reported that George was wrestling in France and had received a great ovation from 7,000 spectators at the Palais des Sports in Paris after dislocating his foot in a match with Charles Rigoulet. In July, 1947 we have found George advertised as World Junior Heavyweight champion, an honour he held for two years.

When George’s father died in 1951 he took over running of Heybeck Farm along with his own 162 acre Childswell Farm. Something had to give, and it was the wrestling. George retired in 1956 to concentrate on farming and convert  from beef to dairy farming.

Harry Field

(Also known as Farmers Boy*)

Harry Broadfield wrestled as Harry Fields and also took over the nickname of Farmers Boy* from his elder brother, George. He was born in June 1927, around the time parents Henry and Jessie Broadfield were moving from their farm in Middlestown near Wakefield to  Heybeck Farm, near Dewsbury.Like his brother he learned to wrestle in the loft of Heybeck Farm.

Harry was wrestling by March 1945, we found him beating Arthur Sparks in Nottingham.  He was something of an overnight sensation at a time when rings were dominated by older, heavier men, many returning to the ring after a wartime break. This early success allowed Harry to travel early in his career, and he worked in Mexico in 1948, quite an achievement at the time.

Harry's wrestling skill and youthful appearance made him a popular figure  in the 1950s, and he was to maintain that popularity throughout his career. Wrestling was to always remain a part time occupation for  Harry; farming remained his first love.  His farm near Dewsbury restricted his wrestling commitments to the north of England. Harry gaining national championship recognition no fewer than thee times. Harry was the second holder of the Lord Mountevans British Middleweight championship for a short time in 1952. 

His younger age gave him the opportunity to benefit from televised wrestling, and he made around eight appearances with opponents that included Clay Thomson, Tony Charles, John Foley and Chic Purvey. He disappeared from our rings in 1968.

Harry Fields died in 1979.

* We have read many times that Harry Fields was initially billed as Farmers Boy but failed to find any evidence other than as a nickname..

Page added28/03/2021