The Wartime Memories Project - The Womens Land Army




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    Please select a story link or scroll down to browse all the stories submitted.

If you have any names to add to this list, or any recollections or photos of those listed, please get in touch.



Hazel Odell

My sister, Hazel Odell, was in the WLA and may have been based in Kent.

Pam



Dagmar Kitchen

When I was a kid we had a Land Girl billeted with us. I was only 2 or 3 so my memories are vague. She was tallish (to a 3-year-old) with dark long wavy hair and large dark eyes. I think her name was Dagmar Kitchen - which is a pretty odd name, so I hope somebody has heard of her.

We also had a man called Leonard something with us at another time who worked in the Air Ministry at Cheltenham (now GCHQ). We lived on the edge of Stroud. My parents were teachers and my dad organised Harvest Camps on a farm in Chrington for the NUT in the summers. Anyone remember any of this?

Chris Dean



Gwen Bedwell

Gwen Bedwell served with the Women's Land Army in Hasketon, Suffolk from 1944 to 1948. Anyone remember her?

Paul Bedwell



Audrey Foster

Audrey Foster served in the WLA and was stationed in Ripon, North Yorkshire around 1944. Does anyone remember her?

K.Guest



Norrie Humphreys

Does anyone remember my mother, Norrie Humphreys, who served in the WLA in Bulwark, Chepstow?

Jan Wilkins



Ruth Fuller Peddle

Ruth Peddle served in the Women's Land Army.

Stephanie Peddle



Miriam Potter

My grandma served in the Women's Land Army. Her name was Miriam Potter and she joined the WLA in Leicester. The only other information is that she was based in somewhere in Wales. Does anyone remember her?

Paul Warren



Elizabeth "Betty" Deakin

Elizabeth (Betty) Deakin joined the Womens Land Army in 1946, aged 17. Prior to joining, Betty had worked in the ICI chemical factory, where she worked in the production of the Milk of Magnesia brand of medicine, in her hometown of Washington, Tyne and Wear. She decided to join up along with several friends who worked in the same factory. Her mother, Mary Deakin, told her she could get that idea out of her head, however her father intervened and he made the plea "Oh Mary, if she wants to go, let her".

Betty signed up in 1946 and was sent immediately to Wallingford, Oxfordshire and billeted in a Land Army Hostel in the same town. She enjoyed her work from the outset, making friends with Joyce Smith, a more experienced forewoman, Patricia Street and Mary Healey. The four became close, and called themselves, the four musketeers.

Betty took a driving course in Reading shortly after joining, where she was temporarily billeted. She passed the test at the first attempt, which allowed her to drive tractors, trucks and a variety of other heavy agricultural machinery. She went on to become a charge hand, which involved her transporting Land Army personnel from farm to farm, often following around the large threshing machine which was used by the farmers in that area. She also had to work in the fields herself, planting and harvesting crops, etcetera.

She remained lifelong friends with Joyce, Mary, Kath and Marge and has continued living in the Wallingford area since leaving the Land Army, meeting and marrying Jim Luscombe in the early 1950s and having two sons, David and Paul.

David Luscombe



Della "Taff" Davies

I was in the WLA at Neath from 1946 to 1948. The women used to call me Taff because they said I sang when I talked. Does anyone remember me?

Della Davies



Joan Margaret Sutton

My sister, Joan Margaret Sutton, joined the Womans Land Army in 1943 when she was 18 years old. Her farm was in New Barn near Longfield in Kent, and she lodged with a local family, I am sure their name was Todd. She came home to us in Beckenham, Kent every weekend, and when she returned back to her farm, after alighting from the train, station unknown, she had to walk through woods to get to her lodgings. I was 12 when she was called up, and I still remember how smart and proud she looked in her uniform. She said she and the other girls used to eat raw vegetables from the fields because they were always hungry! She met her Husband Bill Bailey at a dance. he was in The Buffs stationed near by. After being demobbed she married Bill and went on to have 3 sons, Michael, Graham and Richard. She died at the age of 90, after suffering years of ill health.

Maureen R. Cullen



Mary Gilbert

I arrived in Penzance in the May of 1943 with my good friend Doris Jones and was taken to Collurian Farm near St Earth where we assisted the family of Tregarthen. I was based there for six weeks and then moved on to Binerton Manor Farm to the Giles family where I stayed approximately six months.

From there I moved onto Kennegy Manor (hostel) where I stayed from January 44 until April 46 and made good friends with Alice Finnegan from Bradford, Edna Fuller from Liverpool, Elsie from Newcastle and quite a few others. After the war I returned to my home town of Liverpool to work as a clerk again. I married a Cornishman, Jack Gilbert, from Porthleven so retuned to Cornwall to live in Camborne in 1949.

May Gilbert



Cath Mallison

I've recently got hold of a book that my granddad Luke Kearns wrote about his life for his grandchildren to get to know more about him after he died.

He came over here as an agricultural labourer, and for a period of time in 1945 for about 6 months he worked the land at Lincolnshire with Mick Murray, John Feerick, Mattie Lyons and they drank and sang at The White Horse Inn. They worked Richard 'Dicky' Dennis' farmland until the foreman 'Sulky' replaced them with prisoners or war workers after a pay dispute. The group had to split up and move out, my granddad ended up at Youngs farm the 'other side of Sleaford' with Paddy Byrne. Sometimes the living conditions were good if they got a group going, but mostly lads had to sleep in the barn among the cattle faeces. The Youngs were very kind and helpful though and he and Paddy stayed in a caravan there Paddy and my granddad drank at The White Hart. There was a Land Army Girl, about 20, called Cath Mallison that my granddad had a romance with but he suffered a bereavement and had to leave, and because he was grieving didn't answer her letter, there is a whole chapter on this! They went on dates to The White Hart, and my granddad would sing and play melodeon there. He helped out at the local vicarage garden party and accompanied Mrs Grimshaw who played the piano at dances. Before he left he got them all to bet on a horse at 45-1 following a tip off from an American man. The horse, Kerry Piper, won

Claire Kearns



Lillian Jessie Shrivell

My Mum, Lil Shrivell and her sister, Violet Shrivell, were billeted at Poynings, Sussex. My Mum at Millie Grover's. They both worked at Saddlescombe Farm nr.Poynings, My Mum on the the thrashing machine, my Auntie milking the cows. They cycled the steep hill to the farm daily and also were requested to help on 2 other farms. She often talked about Major Penny but I have no information about which farm he owned or worked on. One of her best friends was Nora Hollingdale who married Stan and became a Hillier. Mum had been engaged to Charlie Hollingdale (apparently no relation to Nora) for 3 years he being the shepherd at Saddlescombe but when Saddlescombe became a dairy farm Charlie and his sheep were sent to Eastbourne where he met and married Betty who is now in her 90's. Charlie has passed away. Mum also knew Stan and Grace Hollingdale the brother and sister of Charlie. Mum met my Dad, George Haines when he came home on leave in 1944 and they had many very happy years together but sadly have both now passed away. Is there anyone out who remembers my Mum or Auntie?

Audrey Haines



Gladys Davies

Farnham Farming Camp 1943

This photo was found within my mother, Gladys Davies photo album, I was not aware of her being part of this program.

Kathleen Rogers



Joan Hynes

Our Mum, Joan Hynes, was in the Farthingstone Hostel Litchborough in 1945/46 from the age of 16 or 17. We have no idea how long she served. She talked about a very tall woman who befriended her in the Land Army and is next to her in the group photo I found. She met my father John Rickards at the Old Lion Pub through his father Lawrence (Yank) Rickards. They were engaged for 5 years while Jack served in the British Army of Occupation after WW2.

When she turned 21 she told her father that she was going to Kenya to marry her Rhodesian sweetheart. Mum travelled on a troop ship to Mombasa. Mum and Dad married in 1951 in Kenya whilst Dad was still in the British Army during the Mau Mau War. In 1953 they moved to Rhodesia where my Dad started farming with his Uncle Chummy Acutt. Dad eventually bought his own farm and Mum and Dad farmed in Centenary. Dad died at 58 of cancer and Mum passed away at 72 after a long illness. We had a wonderful life growing up on the farm, going to boarding school, and being around Mum and Dad till their last days.

Cathy Swan



Margaret Irene Hannah Ashton

Margaret Ashton, my mother, served in South Wales with her friend. They decided that they would like a change of area and so, applied for a transfer. The friend said she didn't want to go too far away, so they asked for a transfer to Herefordshire. When the transfer was made, they were sent to Hertfordshire - it must have been a case of mistaken handwriting as the two counties have just one letter difference! They went to Hertfordshire and my mother ended up working for/with the person who eventually became her father-in-law. She met my father when he returned home from service in the Middle East. If the handwriting hadn't been mis-read, I may never have been born!

Jacqueline Horrod-Tottem



Renee Millington

Renee Millington is my mum. She served in the Hereford area and ended up as Secretary of the WLA and marched in London on several occasions. Her surname changed to Thomas and she had two children - a boy and a girl. She moved to Borth and lived there until about 1950/51 with the Spargo Family. From photographs and visits as a soldier with our son, saw neighbours who had the children with the same names, Peter and Pamela.

Mum returned to Lancashire and we lived with grandparents for the majority of my early teenage years, joined up at 17 and posted to Rhyl. Served in Germany England and Singapore.




Enid Joan Sansom WLA, Bunny

Joan Sansom was a teenager when she started at Bunny. She is still alive, now 94 (as of Nov 2016) and living in Mansfield and has all her faculties. However, details of the work she did in the 1940s is very slim.

I would love to find a photo of her with the girls she served with at Bunny.





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Can you help us to add to our records?

The names and stories on this website have been submitted by their relatives and friends. If your relations are not listed please add their names so that others can read about them


Did you or your relatives live through the Second World War? Do you have any photos, newspaper clippings, postcards or letters from that period? Have you researched the names on your local or war memorial? Were you or your relative evacuated? Did an air raid affect your area?

If so please let us know.

Help us to build a database of information on those who served both at home and abroad so that future generations may learn of their sacrifice.




Celebrate your own Family History

Celebrate by honouring members of your family who served in the Secomd World War both in the forces and at home. We love to hear about the soldiers, but also remember the many who served in support roles, nurses, doctors, land army, muntions workers etc.

Please use our Family History resources to find out more about your relatives. Then please send in a short article, with a photo if possible, so that they can be remembered on these pages.





My Land Girl Years, 1939-1948

Vera Rattray


We were a lively and energetic bunch of girls from all over Lancashire, and while some of us had a farming background, the majority did not . . . We were to get on well together.' From 1939 to 1948, Veronica Rattray worked on farms in Lancashire as a land girl, and she has faithfully recorded these crucial years of her life in this revealing memoir. The war years - a period of hardship for people in a nation under threat - was, for these land girls, a time of effort, self-sacrifice and hard work for low wages. They got on with their tasks, milking cows, herding sheep in the Pennines, and tending the huge shire horses that worked on the farms, and they got on well with each other. The author's reward was to make new friends and to meet Queen Elizabeth in London, a moment she treasures. Here are her recollections of a happy time, when people had fewer choices and made the best of what they had.
More information on:My Land Girl Years, 1939-1948



The Women's Land Army

Bob Powell & Nigel Westacott


This book brings together a wealth of black and white pictures which together record not only the operations of the Women's Land Army (WLA) but also scenes of the countryside between 1939 and 1950. Drawn from the worldwide albums of many ex-land girls at a time when film was rationed and photography monitored, this collection offers a fascinating insight into the people and places associated with the WLA. Many of these photographs have never been published in book form and so offer a unique record of the organisation. Every image is captioned, providing names and dates where possible, and revealing historical anecdotal detail which gives life to the scenes and personalities captured through the camera lens. Presenting training, occupations and the social activities of the Land Army women, this absorbing collection will not only evoke many wartime memories, but will also inspire readers through these images of hope, strength and unity.
More information on:The Women's Land Army



British Women's Uniforms in Colour Photographs (World War 2)

Martin Brayley & Richard Ingham


This reference book contains the uniforms of the women's services during World War II. Nearly 200 colour photographs of rare, original uniforms from private collections are featured with detailed explanatory text. This really is an extraordinarily good book if you're looking for details of women's uniforms from the WWII period. Every page has a large, clear photograph of a uniform (worn by a modern model, but with 40s styling), plus detail shots of shoes, insignia, berets and so on.


The 1940s Look: Recreating the Fashions, Hairstyles and Make-up of the Second World War

Mike Brown


"The 1940s Look" tells you everything you need to know about the fashions of wartime Britain and the impact that rationing, the Utility scheme, changing tastes and the demands of everyday life had on the styles people wore. People had to 'Make Do and Mend' - with varying degrees of ingenuity and success. Hair styles, glasses, jewellery, and tattoos were essential in creating your own fashion statement. Women's magazines advised readers on the difficulties of dressing growing children, offered instructions for making clothes and accessories, and hosted debate over whether by dressing up, women were helping or hindering the war effort. Thoroughly researched and lavishly illustrated, "The 1940s Look" tells you how civilian men, women and children dressed - and why they looked the way they did during the Second World War. It draws on contemporary sources including government advice, periodicals and books, and benefits from an entertaining narrative by author Mike Brown.


Wartime: Britain 1939-1945

Dr Juliet Gardiner


Juliet Gardiner's 'Wartime' provides a marvellously rich, and often entertaining, recreation of life on the Home Front, 1939-45, drawing on an enormous range of oral testimony and memoir.
More information on:Wartime: Britain 1939-1945



Women on the Land: Their Story During Two World Wars

Carol Twinch


Women on the Land tells the remarkable story of women's contribution to agriculture and forestry during the two World Wars. It traces the formation and history of the Women's Land Army, and shows how women, mostly untrained and from non-farming backgrounds, helped maintain food production for a beleaguered nation, by filling the places of men away at the war. At the height of the First World War the Land Army had a full-time membership of 23,000 members, a number that was to exceed 80,000 during the Second World War. The book pays tribute to women like Lady Denman, who administered the Land Army during the Second World War and who was its chief inspiration and driving force, and also outlines the part played by other women's groups in wartime. Containing many first-hand reminiscences by the women who served, and a number of evocative illustrations, Women on the Land highlights the years when women were effectively to challenge long-established preconceptions as to what properly constit


World War II (Who? What? When?)

Bob Fowke


'We loved this series. Really good, easy-to-use, exciting reference books, but the size and appearance of a novel. Topics and themes are covered in alphabetical order and there's a simple cross-referencing system which is really easy to use. A good, fascinating selection of information and facts that can be dipped into; helpful and clear 'how to read this book' explanation at the front, and glossary of terms and index at the back. Great, eye-catching covers.' -- The Guide to Literacy Resources 2003 'The series covers eras closely linked to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's key stage 2 units. They approach history through the humorous, gruesome facts that KS2 pupils love to know. The cartoons and informal style make them suitable for independent reading - an unsuspecting way of learning about the past.' -- TES Teacher 20030613 'a very accessible reference book.' -- Primary Times 20030331 Product Description As the title implies, the book provides information on the key peo


The Milk Lady at New Park Farm: The Wartime Diary of Anne McEntegart June 1943 - February 1945

Anne McEntegart


Anne McEntegart (1905 - 1984) was a professional artist and wife of an R.A.F. officer, Bernard McEntegart - who eventually became Air Vice-Marshal. Being the wife of an officer she didn't need to work on the land but she wanted to support the war effort and so did the work of a land girl, alongside the land girls on the farm, without becoming a member of the W.L.A. This was possibly because she wanted to be available to be with her husband if this was needed, her husband was working abroad and her only child was in Canada, evacuated for safety. Aged thirty-eight, Anne left London, and her life as the wife of an officer, to work on the land and deliver milk for Walter Gossling at New Park Farm, just outside the village of Brockenhurst, in the New Forest. Though not an official member of the Women's Land Army, Anne milked cows and stacked corn alongisde the land girls on the farm. Engagingly detailing the brim-full days of farm life during the build-up to the D-Day and after, this book c




If you have any tales or photographs of The Women's Land Army during World War Two please get in touch, we would love to record your story.



The Womens Land Army for those who served in England, Scotland and Wales records are available to view on microfiche at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey. The microfilm you need to ask for is:

Series: MAF 421: Ministry of Food: Women's Land Army: Index to Service Records of the Second World War 1939-1948.





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