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Rita Irene Day

Women's Land Army

from:64 Priory Estate, South Elmsall, West Yorkshire

My late wife, Rita Irene Day nee Summerscales, was in private service with Mr & Mrs David Brown of David Brown Tractors later Aston Martin cars. At Meltenham Nr. Huddersfield.

Rita decided that she would like to join the Women's Royal Naval Service but after talking this over with her Dad he suggested it would be better joining The Womens Land Army. Rita joined the WLA and was based at the hostel in Shortbank Road Skipton, North Yorkshire. She trained as a tractor driver and was involved in the ploughing of meadowlands to plant food production in our country's desperate need for food.

Rita was also involved in all types of agricultural work, harvesting, threshing, etc etc. At times this was a very dirty and heavy work, even long hours for the sum of one shilling an hour (now 5p). The normal hours per week were forty eight, plus two hours free for the Country. Many hours were expected according to demand on harvesting, etc. etc. From the week's wages of 2.8 deduction for food and accommodation at the hostel was twenty shillings (1) leaving the sum of 1.8 to live of.

Living in the hostel with about forty other girls, they were a very happy lot when they had time to relax. I was serving in the Royal Air Force as a motor driver mechanic, and started a pen friendship with Rita. Later on a week end off duty I hitched hiked from my camp at Freckleton Lancashire to Skipton for our first date. This happened again and we fell in love.

A year later we were married on 15th July 1947. Rita later left the WLA and moved to my home City of Edinbugh in 1949 I was demobbed from the RAF and we settled down here.

Later a former Land Girl from Skipton started a annual reunion in various districts in the Yorkshire Dales. We attended as many as we could over the years, and after 60 years it was decided to finish, due to the decline in numbers. Later when the Armed forces veterans badge was issued, I thought the Land Girls were in need of recognition and started a campaign for a form of medal or some type of award. After 60 years a special WLA badge was issued at last. God bless the WLA/WTC.

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