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Irene "Mickey" Collier

Land Army

from:Grange Park Rd,Thornton Heath, London

Some reminiscences of my days in the Land Army.(1943-1947) I joined the Land army when I was only 15 (well nearly 16) and was first sent to a hostel at Compton Dundon, in Herefordshire. We found the work very hard at first and ached in every limb, especially the first two months. None of us had done this type of manual labour before! As I lived in London we used to try to get home most weekends - often by thumbing lifts as our pay did not go very far. We used to be taken by lorry first thing each morning and dropped off at a farm for the day. We seldom knew in advance where we were going to be. Another thing I remember is being hungry a lot of the time, for if late down for breakfast there often wouldn’t be any left as it was on a first come first served basis. (I was never very good at getting up in the morning) Although packed lunches were provided for us to take with us, if you were late down and the lorry had arrived you could miss out on these also. Sometimes, fortunately, the farmers wives would bring tea and a snack out to us during the long days in the fields. A number of times when we were working in the fields, German planes came over and dived down low and we had to jump in the nearest ditch to avoid being machine gunned. One week I was 2 days late back and as a "punishment" was sent away to a hostel in North Petherton in Somerset. Actually this proved to be blessing, for although getting home proved to be a non starter from here, I enjoyed working in this area very much, we got on well with the farmers and the countryside was lovely. I look forward very much to receiving my badge as I have always thought we were very much the forgotten service. Irene Sayer (nee Collier) 80

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