A day in the life of a WLA voluntary district representative
The role of a district representative was an unpaid, part-time volunteer role. Over 3,000 women worked as ‘local reps’. They visited Land Girls on a regular basis, attempting to establish a personal relationship with Land Girls.Local reps were the welfare link between the Land Girl and the organisation. Below is written by ‘RH’, who was a voluntary district representative in Buckinghamshire between 1943 and 1948.
Decided on waking to devote the day exclusively to private affairs [as opposed to WLA matters], but had barely finished breakfast when the telephone rang and a hoarse voice announced it was leaving instantly for its home in the Far North. On enquiry, it appeared to have had a row with everyone on the farm the night before, but agreed to wait and see the District Rep if she came at once.
Somewhat aggrieved, got the car out and went to the farm, where the Land Girl was located in the dairy by a series of thumps and crashes through a dense cloud of steam. After hearing reasons for row, persuaded Land Girl to stay one more day while the County office was informed and advice asked. Returned home to ring up office and after some delay got through to Almost Highest Level whose voice saying, “Can I help you?” was somewhat marred by sounds of girlish laughter in the background.
Came to the conclusion after replacing receiver that the County Office had not offered adequate solution, so retired to garden to consider the problem and was startled to see Land Girl appear in full uniform, plus overcoat saying it was even then on its way North prepared to walk if no bus, train or travel warrant available. Ring Office again to report latest development but was told coldly by Junior Typist that it was Lunch Hour. Retired crushed and took Land Girl to station, then went on to do a couple of routine visits.
Home in time for tea and just poured first cup when agitated parent [her mother?] announced another Land Girl was even then tottering to the door. On investigation found an indignant female saying it had been “cruelly” overworked by farmer and was now on its way to Doctor to get a “susstificate”. Cheered on her way by District Rep who’d vetoed the idea of his having Land Girl when first mooted by Office. Land Girl departed sobbing but sobs turned to hiccoughs which much reduced the effect.
Spent evening trying to satisfy County Petrol Office on paper that no drop had [been] either wasted or used frivolously and so to bed.
(R.H. 1943-1948) Buckinghamshire WLA County Committee
Source: Buckinghamshire County Archives
Interested in finding out more about voluntary representatives and the running of the WLA? Then click here.