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Edna Drake

Land Army

I joined the Land Army in 1943, I was 16 years old & could not wait until I was 17 so I put my age up & hoped nobody would find out. I was sent first to Strensall near York, I was in a hostel with other new recruits who were all friendly. I remember my first job was feeding turkeys & general farm work. I was a city girl with no experience of country life but I soon became used to it, I never enjoyed the early mornings though.

Later on I was transferred to Stogumber in Somerset,oh dear cycling up those long hills at the end of a long tiring day. The hostel had been a lovely old house with a large garden, a pleasant place to be. A group of us always went somewhere on the train at weekends,often to Minehead to enjoy the sea air, sometimes to Taunton if we had any money to spare for shopping. There was not much in the shops of course & all clothing was on coupons, sometimes my Mum would send me some of her coupons, what a treat that was.

I left Somerset & was sent to Sandown on the I.O.W. again to be billeted in a lovely old house taken over by the Govt to house Land Girls. It was a happy time there, my sister was living in Shanklin which was great, I could visit her,just a short bus ride away. I decided to try milking & dairy work & gained a proficiency certificate for that in due course. I dont remember any air raids there on the Island,we were lucky to be free from all that. I met my future husband in Sandown, he had just returned from Burma & was demobbed from the R.A.F. & having a holiday . David lived in Southampton,we did a lot of travelling on the ferry from Ryde to Portsmouth! I spent the last part of my service in East Meon,or was it West Meon? I lived on a dairy farm with the farmer & his family,that was a very pretty part of Hampshire.

I suppose memory retains the good things, I know there were winter mornings in Yorkshire with heavy frosts & hedging & ditching was hard going. I wish I could remember the names of some of the girls I met during those years, I stayed on in the Land Army until 1947 & was married in 1948. I have no regrets & counted myself lucky to have such a healthy life which I feel sure has helped to keep me fit & well into my 82nd year.

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