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Elsie Lillie Roberts

Land Army

from:Eccles. Lancashire

Born in 1924 I lived at Barton Lane Eccles with my parents Father Edward.Wm. Roberts, my mother Lillie Roberts and My younger sister Olive We lived close to Barton Swing Bridge, Aquaduct , and Barton Power Station We could see Trafford Park Industrial Area across the M/c Ship Canal. Sitting ducks so to speak.When war came In 1939 A Anderson Shelter was delivered my father Dug a hole in the back garden and Erected the shelter Covering the top with soil and turf. Made bunk beds .Hoping we would not have to use it. Gas Masks. I.D. Cards isued Ready for what was to come In December 1940 Hitler decided to Blitz Manchester Night after night we slept in the shelter. 22nd Dec. was the worst night. Manchester was on fire. Noise was deafening, Bombs, Guns. The sky aglow for miles around. A bomb landed four gardens away. Our house was unlivable. We moved to my Aunts Nursing Home in Gatley Cheshire. A Memorable Xmas In 1941 we moved to Berwickshire, Scotland May 10th 1942 I joined the Scottish Womens Land Army. I was sent for a four weeks intensive farming course to the West of Scotland Agricultural College Auchencruive, Ayrshire. So many days milking, field work, poultry. Pigs. Tractors, Reversing a tractor with traier thro a farm gate etc etc. This was not a good idea as some farming methods on the W.side were somewhat different to the E.side where I was destined to work. After this I was sent to Bemersyde, Roxburghshire Earl Haigs Mansion House Was patially used as Billets for S.W.L.A. We had a dormitory called Rookery Nook.. We went out daily to various farms in the district. Seasonal work. Tattie picking., Muck spreading, Singling turnips, sugar Beet. Threshing Mill, Stooking etc. etc. Opening up a field at Harvest Time, Following an old man with a Scythe Making a straw band to make a sheaf Three or four times round the perimeter to enable e Binder machine to come in and cut and make sheaves for us to pick up and stook. Barley was the worst. Oh those Barley Alns. Stuck to everything. quite painful. We worked with elderly men, young lads, and lots of S,Ireland Men who came over to work. S,Ireland was not at war. Italian P.O.W's I worked on many farms in Roxburghshire and later Berwickshire. It was hard work. It is amazing now how mechanized farming has become. No more hand picking potatos . No more muck spreading with a fork. no more threshing mills. I now live in Queensland. Australia. At 84years old May 30th this year 2008 I remember the times like yesterday. Sad and happy days. Looking forward to that Medal/Badge. Better Late than never. Cheers. Elsie L. Roberts.

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