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Sheila Mary McGowan

Womens Land Army

from:Bold St, Blackburn, Lancashire

My mother Sheila McGowan served with the Women's Land Army during World War Two. The government has recently recognised the immense contribution of the Women's Land Army in providing seventy per cent of Britain's food supply during wartime. Working in all weathers in backbreaking and dangerous conditions, enduring cold and privation, and often under risk of shrapnel and enemy action, my mother was one of thousands of women who volunteered to serve their country in locations often far away from home for the duration of the war and into the years of peace immediately following the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945.

It is a saga that has been too easily taken for granted. The WLA was a service force in wartime with a defined role, to make Britain self-sufficient during the dangerous and stressful years of the war and prevent starvation and submission to the Axis Forces. Without the WLA, the U-boats would have triumphed and a consequent submission and surrender of a starving population would have occured. There is no doubt that this is so and that contribution should have been recognised in 1945, with the issue of badges, service medals and gratuities, pensions, along with those awarded to the other services. Not until 2008 were representatives of the WLA allowed at the Cenotaph to honour the fallen.

My mother is alive and well for her age. At 89 she still remembers her years in the Land Army. As a former Land Girl, my mother is entitled to receive some accolade for her contribution in wartime. She deserves it along with thousands of other WLA members.

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