Mar 012016
 

Lambing Women's Land Army

From left to right, top to bottom:

  • Women’s Land Army recruitment poster. Source: Getty Images
  • As an experiment the London County council have employed twelve land girls for the first time. They are helping on the Council’s Horton, Surrey, farm, which helps to supply a mental hospital and has over 700 head of cattle. The girls milk cows, feed pigs and till gardens and fields, and live together in a local farmhouse. 20th March 1941. Source: Getty Images
  • Gladys Minns, a Bedfordshire land girl, and her lambs at Prole’s farm, Elstow. Source: Courtesy of Stuart Antrobus.

Other activities included:

  • Spreading slurry
  • Fertilising and spraying crops
Oct 212015
 
1950 Disbandment Parade London Photo source: Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading (Ref. P FW PH2/R72/1) Courtesy of Stuart Antrobus

1950 Disbandment Parade London
Photo source: Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading (Ref. P FW PH2/R72/1) Courtesy of Stuart Antrobus

Today is the 65th anniversary of the 21 October 1950 ‘Farewell Parade’ of 500 representative land girls from all the counties in England and Wales before Queen Elizabeth, their Patron, at Buckingham Palace, to mark the disbandment of the Women’s Land Army (the Women’s Timber Corps of ‘lumber jills’ was disbanded on 31 August 1946) . The final day for the organisation was on 30 November 1950. Around 203,000 young women had served on the land, for varying periods of time, between 1 June 1939 and 30 November 1950. Most did this National Service during the war years (September 1939 to 8 May 1945: over 150,000 women) when they replaced men on farms, market gardens and in forests, who had gone off to fight, but some (over 50,000) also served in the post-war years.

Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother), consort of King George VI, in her final speech to them, observed that Land Girls ‘had obeyed the call of duty in the nation’s hour of great peril and need, and the nation owed them an everlasting debt.’ Most land girls left the organisation soon after the end of the war, in 1945-46, but some stayed on and new land girls were recruited to satisfy the continuing need for agricultural labour. As civilian workers, despite their organisation’s misleading title of ‘Army’ (meaning large work force), they were not entitled to a medal or demobilisation grants. The most that some got was a congratulatory letter from the Queen thanking them for their service. But they had the satisfaction, like many other women in other wartime occupations, of having ‘done their bit’ for the nation.

WLA Disbandment Parade Newspaper Article Manchester News Source: The Manchester Guardian, courtesy of Catherine Procter WLA collection

WLA Disbandment Parade Newspaper Article Manchester News
Source: The Manchester Guardian, courtesy of Catherine Procter’s WLA collection

Watch the Queen inspecting the Women’s Land Army on their final parade.

Sep 032014
 

Emma Jolly

Emma Jolly was born in 1895 and served with the Women’s Land Army from 1917. She trained at Highcroft in Hertfordshire and was posted to Arkley Rise estate near Barnet where she worked hard at farm work, feeding hens, milking cows and churning butter. She later married Walter Ely and had a son.

Information from Emma’s nephew John Oldman on Europeana 1914-1918