To welcome in August, we have two new front cover designs of The Land Girl this month. August was one of the busiest times in the farming calendar, as women were heavily involved in the harvest, which the first drawing reflects. The detailed sketch from the August 1942 edition shows women out in the fields bringing in the harvest. In the far distance, we see a Land Girl on a tractor. To right, some Land Girls appear to be hoeing. A bit further forward, some Land Girls seem to be holding a lamb in their arms, although it is a bit hard to make out. What do you think? Overall, this captures the range of work expected of women – and ultimately how they had to work as a team in order to bring in the harvest. Look at the women’s facial expressions, particularly those in the foreground. They look focused on their respective activities, showing that they carried out their duties and diligently.
The second drawing is very different in style, with far fewer lines, making for a simpler design. Here we see two Land Girls feeding a lambs in a barn. Again, the Land Girls are seen working together; one feeding the lamb while the other holds the bucket. What particularly struck me about this drawing was the way the artist had drawn the haircuts. Both women have bobbed hair. It was this very hairstyle, along with painted fingernails, that sometimes meant women caused quite a stir when ‘townies’ moved to the country. Who knows, maybe this artist, B.N.L, was one of these ‘town gals’ and was making a point that despite the appearances of a town girl, women could muck down and get the job done!
Both artists used their pencils and paper to bring to life the farming tasks they would have carried out on a daily basis, showing the effective ways they worked with other Land Girls to maintain the country’s food supplies during and after the war.
This month’s images have more of a post-war flavour. The first drawing is of a cow, uncharacteristically without a Land Girl. Around its neck hangs a chain with a Women’s Land Army badge. The cow also wears a hat and looks suspiciously at the reader. Somewhat comically, a piglet appears floating above the cow’s back. Overall, a very humorous drawing for the July 1943 edition that focuses on the personality of the animals which women soon began to understood as they spent long days with them!
Moving forward three years to July 1946 and we see a Land Girl lying on top of hay, pulled by two horses. She looks quite at ease, as two other women appear together, presumably after harvesting the hay. This drawing appears to capture a scene at the end of a working day, showing the product of the women’s labours, often spending long days in the sun. Yet, still after an intensive day on the farm, women put their talents to good use, representing their experiences to the readers of The Land Girl – and now for us as readers today.
My mother was based in Buckinghamshire, I believe at Finmere or Tingewick. She met my father there when he was stationed in the army at Tingewick in 1946. Her name was Kitty Bland and my fathers name was Sydney Freshwater. She came from a children’s home in North London.I would like to also know more about her life. I am attaching a photo, which you are welcome to use on the site. My mother has her face scratched and is only partially visible. I am looking for someone with another copy of better quality…..long shot I know. The other ladies in the photo are, left to right, back to front (I guess) Joyce Charlton, Kitty Bland, Ena Smith, Sadie Brown, Joan Heaton.
My mother used to be a land army girl at Battina House, which I believe was in the Chichester or Brighton area. She passed away a couple of weeks ago. I was wondering if you could put a request on your website for any information about Bettina House or who might have known my mother? Her name was Marie Louise Anne Estelle Holland. It might be of interest that she ran away and joined the land army and lied about her age. When she was found out she was interviewed on the radio by Richard Dimbleby.
Chris Goymer, Marie’s son.
So can you believe it we are almost halfway through the year?! We have some great illustrations this month, taken from the 1944 and 1945 editions of The Land Girl. The first illustration shows three separate drawings of Land Girls: one pulling up a carrot, the other feeding a hen, and the final woman on the floor trying to milk a cow. The line drawings are rather fun and the jovial style of the cartoon captures the joys of summer.
The second illustration by E Wright, a Land Girl from Suffolk, marked V.E Day. Here, Wright highlights the vital role of the Women’s Land Army to victory with the silhouettes of women in front of a big V, with a WLA hat, balanced on top. The illustration communicated one simple and powerful message: the country would not have reached victory without women’s vital work on the land.
We have an array of interesting images used in The Land Girl to welcome in the month of May. The first drawing by E Hodgkin, from 1940, is a humorous depiction of a Land Girl facing off with a bull. She holds a bucket of milk and looks, quite frankly, terrified at the prospect of milking a cow. Indeed, some women recount how they were not taught how to milk a bull; the farmer just gave them a bucket and told them to get on with it! How frightened would you be, if you’d had no experience before? The second drawing, published in 1943 presents the process of milking in a much more positive way. A Land Girl strolls away with bucket in hand, presumably after a good milking session. This drawing gives more focus to the wider farming landscape. So too does the final drawing for May 1946, which depicts Land Girls creating a haystack. They stand upon a trailer in order to reach the top of the stack – maybe showing that they can quite literally measure up to the job. The artist foregrounds the countryside landscape and presents a somewhat idyllic scene . Maybe this drawing reflects the growing confidence that Land Girls experienced after being in the WLA for several years.