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The spring of '39 and I sit idle in the fields.

The young men who should have been working with me now line up for my sergeant.

Children are weary of me — the novelty of rushing to the Anderson shelter dug in the yard has gone, but soon the bombs will start falling. Then they will know it is not me, and wish it was.

Later as the dark clouds of war roll over the world, women take the place of men working in factories for the first time. With me they are producing the tools of war.

Who am I?

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3 Answers 3

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You are a

drill

I sit idle in the fields

EDIT (after OP's hint): as in, a seed drill

The young men who should have been working with me now line up for my sergeant.

as in, drill sergeant

Children are weary of me — the novelty of rushing to the Anderson shelter dug in the yard has gone, but soon the bombs will start falling. Then they will know it is not me, and wish it was.

drill as in practice. When the bombs are falling, they wish it was just a drill, but it is not a drill anymore.

With me they are producing the tools of war.

as in, the tool

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  • $\begingroup$ Well done. Can you elaborate on the first para? It has to do with the etymology of the word, and thus its other meanings (which is what inspired this riddle). $\endgroup$
    – stib
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ @stib I added it to the answer. For the record I'd never heard of that, and without the hint to look up the etymology, I would have thought drilling in an oil field. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 18:25
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water

I sit idle in the fields

as ponds/rivers

The young men who should have been working with me now line up for my sergeant

i'm guessing the sergeant here is the ocean. did they travel by sea ?

...the bombs will start falling. Then they will know it is not me, and wish it was

rain fall too, i guess

With me they are producing the tools of war

water is used in cooling steel, iron and w/e metal they used

this is my best guess

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Are you

Galvanized Iron? Which would make GI Joe the sergeant?

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    $\begingroup$ No, not quite. How does paragraph 1 fit that answer? $\endgroup$
    – stib
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ @stib With the outbreak of ww2 National Service would have resulted in many men especially physically fit farm workers being conscripted. The result is that farmyard machines made of galvanized iron would be left idol in the fields. $\endgroup$
    – Karm
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 8:30

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