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Ada E. "Babs" Cole

Womens Land Army

Ada Cole joined the Women's Land Army at 25 years of age on 25th of August 1941. She lived in Wembley and, though she did not drive, was taught to drive a tractor and put to work ploughing up the commons. She was frequently teamed with a male "conscientious objector" who would ride in the trailer behind the tractor doing jobs like spreading lime. The two photos of her with her crew show her wearing a headscarf which she said she did to keep as much lime out of her hair as possible.

She was a very small girl but loved the physical work and loved to tell her children about the muscles she developed. She loved the camaraderie as well as the work and told us it was the best time of her life.

Once in the Land Army, Ada took up the nickname "Babs" and was known by that name for the rest of her life. She became good friends with another girl, Dorrie Jean Coles, whose last name was so close to hers. When they were discharged on the 18th of October 1946, Babs said she was hoping to find a farmer to marry because she loved the life so much. But Dorrie Jean took her home one weekend where she met Dorrie Jean's brother, James, who had just been discharged from the Royal Artillery. They fell in love and married just two weeks later. They settled into a flat in Richmond on Thames, and later moved to Plymouth where Babs kept a flourishing garden. She never did drive a vehicle again: James thought that women were a danger on the road.

Babs and James moved to New Zealand in 1990 where she passed away in 1997.

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