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Doris Violet "Tup" Barker

Womens Land Army

from:Ley St, Ilford, Essex

Doris Barker, in the Land Army

Doris Barker was my mum. I think she went into the Land Army sometime around November 1942 and worked on various farms in Essex. From what I know from surviving family members she got a compassionate posting to Valentines Park in Ilford as her mum was badly ill at the time. Apparently there were some AA guns in the park and the Land Army girls used to give the soldiers on the guns fresh vegetables. One of these soldiers was my Dad's brother. In early 1944 my Dad had returned from Italy with 7 Armoured Div and was stationed in North Norfolk training for the Normandy landings. He was introduced to my mum by his brother when he was on leave sometime before June 1944 and they married on 28th January 1945.

Doris Barker in the Land Army

A couple of stories I've heard are the time mum was somewhere in Essex and was woken up by some noises. She looked out the window and thought it was the middle of the night so went back to bed. In fact it was the early morning and her normal getting up time - what she had thought was the night sky was in fact the black out curtain across the window - I don't think the farmer where she was billetted saw the funny side.

Land Army Doris Barker on left with brother Frank and sister Rene

Doris Barker on left with brother Frank and sister Rene.

Another story that mum always told as a joke but at the time must have been quite frightening. She was working in the Valentines Park, Ilford at this time when the alarm went and they heard a doodlebug coming. Mum for some reason decided to take a short cut to the shelter through a hedge, but got stuck in it and couldn't get out, just as the doodlebug's motor cut out which meant it was on its way down. I think she got out with some help and the bomb landed some way away.

Unfortunately I don't know the names of the other two girls in these photos.

Land Army working in Valentines Park, Ilford in 1944, Doris Barker on left

Doris Barker on left working in Valentines Park, Ilford in 1944
Land Army working in Valentines Park, Ilford 1944, on left Doris Barker

Doris Barker on left, Valentines Park, Ilford in 1944

Mum died in December 1999. I would love to be able to get details of her number, dates of service and where she was stationed.

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