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.

Iris Matthews

My mother served as a land army girl she died 4 years ago but would love a badge to remember her by, and for her grandchildren, she was born 1917, in Wales, I have no knowledge of her rank or number

Brian Matthews

Dorothy Mary "Doff" McPhee

hi i would like to find out if i could get my moms badage Ihave alot of pics of her in the land army thanks James Mcphee

James Mcphee

Ivy Parkinson

My aunty, Ivy Parkinson, served in the Land Army in St. David's in Wales. She often talks about her time there with fond memories. She says they had good food and were given fresh eggs to take home when on leave.

Delise Jones

Ida Joyce Beeson

My mother was in the land army and she had very fond memories of her time in the land army which she shared with myself and my sister. Unfortunately my mother passed away in 1995 and I have no other further details.

Janet Wicksey

Jenny Swan "Etta" Turner

I am writing on behalf of my Gran who served in the land army during WW2, she will be 90 years in May. I am getting in touch after seeing on the news about women from the land army being recognised and felt I had to do this for her as it was at the time a great passion in her life and one she recalled to us as children, I feel it is the least we can do for her. Her name was Jenny Swan Turner at the time residing at Victoria Crescent, Clarkston, Glasgow

Nicola Andrew

Vera Jones

My mother Vera Jones of Burnage, manchester was stationed on a farm near Ludlow with abouit 12 other women. I would like to find more about where the farm was and would like to hear from anyone who knew her. She was due to marry Capt Harry Tranter RASC on his return from abroad which she did. I am her elder daughter Carolyn.

Carolyn Tranter

Mary Pauline Bromley

At the time my name was Mary Pauline Savage. My date of birth is 15 February 1926 so as you can see I will soon be 82. I lived in Sheffield and joined the Land Arm in 1944 not long after I turned 18. They sent me to Worcester for training. The training involved general farm work, but also learning specialist skills in handling poisons and pest control which stood me in good stead in later life. I was stationed in Alvechurch, Malvern and Evesham but later I was able to transfer to Otley. Being back in Yorkshire I was able to go home more and there I met my future husband, Tom Bromley, who was a pilot in the RAF. We were married on 15th August 1947. My husband reckons that all that rat catching helped me to catch him!!! We were blessed with 2 sons and a daughter, and together we celebrated our Diamond Wedding Anniversary last year. At the beginning of this year we were presented with our first great grandchild, a daughter. My husband also has a few stories to tell about him being still really being only a boy when he had to learn how to fly aeroplanes to North Africa and the near-misses he had. If anyone is interested we would be delighted to try and recollect our experiences of our time during the war.

Caroline Bromley

Mary Theresa Dillon

Joined August 1943 and left to get married June 1945

John Conroy

Patricia Lily Harris

My mother served in the Land Army during the war. Sadly she now suffers from Alzheimers Disease and her memories although detailed and colourful are unreliable. Sadly the farm she worked on in Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire,is now unrecognisable and the people she remembers haved died or moved on. I know she would still recognise and value the recognition that has recently been promised.

Sherwood Elcock

Jessie Lilian Selena Dupey

We as a family are trying to trace any body who served with our Mum. She married Frederick Hutton in March 1945. My mother has now got altzeimers so is unable to give us much information ,but always talks about the time she served in the land army. she talks about a friend called Nora ,we know she was on a farm in somerset,as thats where she met my Dad, but he died 12 years ago. It would be lovely if some one can recall Jessie, she was 19 when she married my Dad, we know she faked her age to enlist. Mum grew up in London, but when married stayed in somerset

Mrs Pat Jefferis

Dorothy Stewart

My mother served with the Land Army. Unfortunately she has died and we are trying to trace anything about our family that we can. Her name was Dorothy Stewart and she lived on Hillgate {not sure of the exact address}. She was born on 10th March 1928. We are led to believe she actually said she was old enough to join, but was in fact too young. The address was in Stockport, Cheshire. I vaguely remember her saying she stayed somewhere near Crewe Wybumberry or something like that. Could you please tell me if there is any way that I can find details about her life in the land army? I would be grateful for any help you could give me.

Karyn Bourke

Margaret Hudson

I'm trying to find out more about the lady in this photo.

I believe she was then called Margaret Hudson. She worked at Glebe Farm, Sarsden, near Churchill and Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire and was definitely there in 1944, some time between February and July. Any help much appreciated.

Ian Shankland

Phyllis Rutherford

After reading the article in the current Practical Family History Magazine, I connected to your site. I feverishly read all the contributions from former Land Girls but was disappointed to find no names or places to link them to me. I am 85 and it is perhaps too late to hope to find any of my colleagues, who included Sylvia Farrow, Pat Strange, June Hetherington, Madge, Kath, Vera, but my story may be of interest. I was trained in Stithians, Cornwall and spent the next three years in Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire. I seem to have missed out on any distribution of certificates in recognition of my service but I have always said they were the best years of my life.

In 1942 I lied to my mother that to avoid direction into factory work I would have to join the Women's Land Army. I attended an interview in Oxford Street and when questioned on suitability I had to admit to none, except that I had read a lot about the countryside and it appealed to me. "What books have you read?" the lady asked. Er, that stumped me and I mumbled something about, "Man and his furry friends". In spite of that I was accepted and in due course dispatched to a farmer in Cornwall. I was a nuisance to my farmer straight away, as I had brought my bicycle and he had to arrange for it to be collected the next day. I found I was one of four or five Londoners off that train and we were all green as grass. As we walked into the farm buildings one of the girls said, "Oh what a dirty yard." The farmer glared at her and said, "Yes my girl, and your first job will be to clean it." Before the end of the month's training I helped to concrete that yard.

Somehow, the farmhands, with the support of a wonderful Head Girl, managed to teach us the rudiments of milking, hoeing, digging ditches, and there was one horror day when I held the squealing piglets for castration. I know one girl didn't last long and the farmer muttered angrily that these city girls couldn't stand being so far from Woolworths.

But I loved the life, though I didn't get on with the farmer. I was first sent to after training. I think it started when he complained about my having one hand in my pocket while turning the handle of the separator. It reached the stage where I wanted my mum and I left in a hurry, the local taxi proprietor lending me the train fare to London, me leaving my bicycle as security. Years later, while on holiday, I visited this farmer and over a cup of tea apologised for the trouble I had caused him, offering the excuse that if I had beeen a little older I might have been able to cope better. The Women's Land Army was very cross with me but I was transferred to Hertfordshire, where I settled happily for the next three years, being able to go home on my days off.

It was a dairy farm, there were eight other land girls, a delightful village, and it was really the best time of my life. We had rosters, so no job became monotonous. I liked best the early morning milk-run, first catching the reluctant pony, then making sure I had my bottle of cream off the top of the Jersey milk churn-no wonder I got fat.

The gentle meander through the village and down the lanes on a snowy morning, not another soul about, was sheer magic, in spite of having to leave the pony at the foot of a too-steep and slippery hill, and carry a heavy crate of bottles to the top. I got into the habit of buying the pony a currant bun on our return through the village, but it caused a problem on Sundays when the bakery was closed. Spot would stop, drag the float across the pavement and plant his feet on the shop step. I can't remember how this problem was solved, but I know some of the other girls were not pleased when it was their turn for the milk-run, especially if they were hurrying for their half-day off and Spot wouldn't budge from the bakery.

We were billeted out to homes in the village and I was with a dear old couple, the husband still working as a gardener. He came home on the train and his wife dare not miss hearing it, as he expected to see his meal on the table while he was taking off his boots and gaiters, so that it would be cooling to the right degree. There was no bathroom so I had to wash in my bedroom. One day I carried up a kettle of hot water and jug of cold, poured half of each into the basin and started with the dirtiest bits. I poured the rest of the hot into the cold, then had to empty the basin to start again. It wasn't until my landlady called up the stairs for the kettle to make the tea that I realised with horror that it was now filled with my dirty soapsuds. She was furious!

Another memorable day was my 21st birthday. I went into the cowshed and found a golden key tied to Buttercup's tail with a satin ribbon, and I moved the key from tail to tail as the milking progressed. While I was weighing the milk from my last cow someone let out the whole shed and my key went up into the meadow on Marigold's tail. I looked for it many times but it was never seen again. A highlight was the annual Harvest Home when the farmer treated his staff to a feast and dance in the barn. The farm secretary wrote little sketches for us girls to perform; I once had to wear a frilly apron and cap, knock on the door and say, "If you please ma'am, there's Miss Thurlow to see you." Just that, but it took hours of practice to get it right. Needless to say, after appearing day after day in our dungarees, we dressed to kill on these occasions, and one young man went through the whole affair in his best suit, heavy boots and bicycle clips.

There was an interlude when I went into a hostel and we were driven out by lorry every day to wherever needed, but I found no joy in picking up potatoes day after day, or brussels sprouts in the freezing early hours. I soon returned to my beloved cows and stayed with them until we were no longer needed. I went back a few years ago, and whilst the village was much as I remembered it, the farm, sadly was now a housing estate.

Phyllis Greed

Nellie Plumb

My Great Aunt, Mrs. Nellie O'Dea served in the Women's Land Army and loves to tell her stories. I think she served around the Hertford Heath area and would love to hear from anyone who worked with her. Her maiden name was Nellie Plumb.

Carol Knibbs

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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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