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The Wartime Memories Project - The Second War

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Audrey Marshall

Land Army

I started work at 14 years old at the Co-operative Boot and Shoe factory in Education Road, off Meanwood Road, Leeds. I am now aged 83.

When war started we were doing army boots, but when I was 17-and-a-half, although I was exempt, I volunteered for the Women's Land Army to do my bit for my country, also because my five brothers and one brother-in-law were serving soldiers. Myself and another girl were sent to a private farm, Portobella Farm, Croft-on-Tees, Darlington. We did men's work: milking, feeding animals, harvesting, digging, etc.

I met my husband, who was a private in the Royal Tank Regiment station at Barnard Castle, Durham, and married on 8 December, 1945 (sadly he is no longer with us). For three-and-a-half years we worked hard from 5.30am to sometimes 9.30pm. It was very hard for a town girl to adjust to life on a farm but we did.

We looked forward to Saturday nights when we went to the village hall for dancing. It was a little village called North Cowton. Nearby was a soldiers' camp and they also enjoyed a bit of recreation, some were Americans and Australians. Most of them had left wives, children and parents behind.

I have some lovely, happy memories. It would be nice to have a badge to prove that we did do our bit and something that my family would have to be proud of me.

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