Helen Blanche Roderick
First Name(s): Helen Blanche
Unmarried Surname: Roderick
Date of Birth: 5 July 1899
Date of Death: 30th April 1979, Denbigh, Wales
Place of Birth: Solihull, Warwickshire
Date joined WLA: Spring 1917, Agriculture
Worked for a private farmer on, Gwarcoed Uchaf, a farm in Cardiganshire, Wales in the village of Llanybyther (now Llanybydder), in Capel Dewi area of the parish of Llandysul. Lived in a private billet.
In Helen’s own words in 1917, “she was eager to serve my country and so joined the Women’s Land Army“.
Another Land Army girl named Kitty (possibly surname Rees) worked on a farm some four miles away.
The Land Girl by Helen Blanche Roderick
In nineteen hundred and seventeen
I thought I’d like to go
Upon a farm to do my ‘Bit’
So as a Land Girl I did go.
You should have seen the Breeches
The leggings, boots and smock
If I had met my old Grandma
She would have died from shock.
To see a girl in breeches
The get up of a boy
It would have been most shocking
For those days girls were coy.
When first I donned the uniform
I felt quite full of pride
To think I was a Land Girl
My joy I could not hide.
I stood before the mirror
To adjust me here and there
My leggings wanted straightening
But I couldn’t get down there.
I tried in vain to reach them
And then I gave a grunt
I found my breeches to my dismay
Were put on back to front.
When first I tried to milk the cow
I found it very hard
I couldn’t get a drop of milk
For hours and hours and hours.
Then to the pigsty I did go
To feed the little pigs
The door I left it open, so
Out ran those naughty pigs.
So after the pigs I gave a chase
For half an hour or so
They dodged around the pigsty door
But in they would not go.
At last help came and we got them in
Then I sat down with a sigh
If this is farm work ‘Well’ I said
I think I’ll say ‘goodbye’.
They sent me to a meadow
To take the calves some chaff
The Billy goat he chased me there
Oh you needn’t laugh.
Then I went to feed the fowl
The ducks and goslings too
A gander stretched his long white neck and ran
And I ran too.
That was my first day on the farm
A day I’ll never forget
It didn’t seem as full of charm
But I hadn’t got used to it yet.
But now I’m quite a farmer
And wouldn’t run away
From Billy goats or Ganders
As I did on my very first day.
I can now feed the pigs without letting them loose
I can now milk the cows with ease
I learnt how to make butter and to make cheese
Who would not be a Land Girl and do such things as these.
Name: Graham Roderick
Relationship to Land Girl: Great nephew