Local Folk

Badge for the Women's Land Army

By Jennifer Drury

THE forgotten heroines of Britain's war effort are to begiven formal recognition of their service on the home front. Thousands of Land Girls who helped keep Britain fed during World War Two by working on farms are to be allowed to wear a special insignia - 62 years after the war ended.

The Women's Land Army (WLA), colloquially known as the Land Girls, was formed at the outbreak of World War II to work on the land, freeing the male workers to go to war.  By 1943 there were some 80,000 young women working in every aspect of agriculture to feed the nation.  With their uniform of green ties and jumpers and brown felt slouch hats, they worked from dawn to dusk each day, milking cows, digging ditches, sowing seeds and harvesting crops. The Women's Timber Corps (WTC), also known as the 'Lumber Jills' worked tirelessly in the forests to provide timber for the war effort, felling trees, sawing timber and sharpening saws. With the outbreak of peace the WLA remained in existence doing vital jobs on the land until demobilisation was complete.  The WLA was formally disbanded in 1950.

To celebrate the official recognition of the vital war work performed by the WLA, the local 'land girls' were entertained with a tea-party in the Mayor's Parlour, organised by the Mayor's Secretary Pat Dines. It was a wonderful opportunity for chats about old times and catching up with old friends.

Photo:The WLA get together at the Town Hall.  The Mayor Councillor Carol Theobald is centre of the photo.

The WLA get together at the Town Hall. The Mayor Councillor Carol Theobald is centre of the photo.

Photo by Tony Mould

Photo:Recruiting poster

Recruiting poster

From a private collection

This page was added on 01/05/2008.
Comments about this page

My aunt's younger sister was a Land Girl; she worked at what later became Hollingbury Golf Course. I remember going to see the shed where Aunty Edna kept her tractor. Sadly she died last year but shortly before that she told me that the shed is still there.

By "Dickie" Bird (07/05/2008)

If any of the Land Army girls remember Sarah Ward, who worked at the farm of Vera Lynn's Husband in Ditchling among other places, and then became a War Bride, emigrating to Canada, would you kindly put a note on here?

By Bridie (06/02/2009)

I am trying to find out where my mother, Phyllis Beal, was working as a Land Army girl. Kew records say some records got burnt but I saw her signing on card. Thank you.

By Mary Simmonds (17/02/2010)

My Mum worked at Albourne. Her name was Eileen Dowds, she passed away on Chirstmas Eve 2008. I am her daughter. My Mum told me all about those days, how much fun she had.

By Bridget Dawkins (28/03/2011)

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