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Silvia Allott

Woman's Land Army


My grandmother, Silva Barraclough (nee Allott), joined the Woman's Land Army in 1942 at the age of 17. My grandmother registered for the Woman's Land Army in Rotherham and was relocated to a newly created hostel in Bungay, East Suffolk called The Red House on the Beccles Road.

My grandmother recalls the forewoman Flo' being a large lady with a fierce, no nonsense approach and carried out orders in a timely manner.

It was in 1942 that my grandmother met her lifelong pal, Betty Baker, who was also stationed at The Red House. Betty was relocated from York. My grandmother recalls that Betty wished to write to a young man in the army, to offer support and encouragement, for the work they were doing on the front. My grandmother gave Betty her brother's name and address (Fred was in the Navy) and Betty and Fred remained pen pals throughout the war, eventually marrying after the war had ended.

My grandmother speaks very highly of her time in the Land Army. We have stories relating to the hard work, the cold winters, the dances she attended and the 'Yanks' she met along the way, who were based close by.

One dramatic story is relating to the time that a German plane flew over the fields in which my grandmother was working in. The German plane dropped several 'butterfly' bombs and the girls had to dive for cover. Unfortunately, one of the girls was seriously injured and my grandmother remembers the 'Yanks' coming over to rush the young lady to a hospital. This was a very scary time and the girls didn't sleep for a week fearing the Germans would be back to finish the job. My grandmother believes the young girl that was injured in the incident was killed but this is unconfirmed.

My grandmother left the Woman's Land Army in 1944 having to go back home to Rotherham to look after her ill auntie. It was in 1948 that she married Frank Stanley Rimmington of Masborough, Rotherham(d.1951) and later re married Alfred Barraclough of Kimberworth, Rotherham (d. 1999).

My grandmother is still living in the Rotherham area (2014) and is fit and well at the age of 88.

Fred and Betty passed away some years ago within 5 days of each other.

We would love to hear any memories from The Red House if you or your family have any to share.

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