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The Wartime Memories Project - The Second War

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Vera Margaret Cecilia "Vee" Byng

Land Army

My mother sadly passed away earlier this year, leaving few clues as to when she joined up or when she left the LA. I was born in April 1943, so it is reasonable to assume that she would have ceased working some months before! She married my father in 1939, and lived with him in Deal, Kent. He was in a Reserved Occupation throughout the war as a Chief Sanitary Inspector/ Acting Borough Surveyor for the local council, as well as being a captain in the Home Guard responsible initially for anti-gas precautions. He is occasionally mentioned in passing in a book on Deal at War. The marriage was not a happy one, for various reasons, and Mum hinted that this and a feeling that she should be doing "something" for the war effort contributed to her decision to join up. She worked at Solley's Farm at Ripple, just a couple of miles inland from Deal. Today it is well known for it's diversification into ice-cream making(delicious!) and running a farm shop. The same family still own and run the farm. Sadly, the generation that may have known my Mum have since passed on, and she was,unfortunately, strangely reticent about this chapter in her young life. About a year before she died she did tell me, however, that she always looked forward to the hearty farmhouse-style breakfasts which somehow overlooked the fact that food- rationing existed! On another occasion, for a dare, she sat on back of the farm's prize bull! The marriage finished soon after the War, and she remarried, becoming Vera Royle. Regrettably, she left no photographs,or other ephemera, of her work in the LA. She was widowed in the 1970's and eventually moved to a beautiful cottage in the Cotswolds. I'm hoping to visit the National Archives in the near future to see if I can trace her service record. I'll keep you posted. Ray

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