Hilda Sherry (née Attridge)
First Name(s): Hilda
Unmarried Surname: Attridge
Married surname: Sherry
Date of Birth: 29/11/1923
Place of Birth: Billericay, Essex
Date joined WLA: 1941
Date left: 1944
Previous occupation: Cashier at the Co-op in Billericay
Reasons for joining: At 18 everyone had to sign up for service of one sort or another.
Family’s reaction to joining: All my family were signed up to various services so it was expected.
Reasons for leaving: I became ill due to the hard work and my GP advised that I should leave.
Pre-work training: No official training. My family were all agricultural workers, so I had a lot of background knowledge gained while growing up.
Employed by: Private farmer, Mr Wyatt, Dovedale Farm, Ramsden Heath, Essex from 1941 to 1944.
Type of work undertaken: I drove the single Fordson tractor, ploughing and other tractor work, looked after the bull, cow and calf. Planted and picked crops, dug ditches. The farmer went to market three times a week and I ran the farm by myself on those days.
Worked liked most and least: I liked looking after the animals, I did not like manually digging ditches.
Any accidents or injuries: I was a small girl, the work was hard, I worked alone and often ran the farm alone. In 1944 my GP determined that the work was far too hard for me. I have some scars on my chin from the tractor kicking back when trying to start it with the handle.
Best and worst memories of the time: A lorry full of billeted soldiers passed each day going for their dinner. They used to wave as they went by and once stopped and helped me when my tractor had slid into a ditch. I liked looking after the cow and calf.
Opportunities to meet other Land Girls: No.
Reactions of local people towards WLA: People were very respectful and friendly if you were in uniform.
Treatment by farmers or market gardeners: I was left to run the farm on my own much of the time.
Any other comments on time in the WLA: I was glad to ‘do my bit’. I remember the Land Army uniform was very smart and of excellent quality.
I was able to live at my parents’ home in Billericay as the farm I worked on was just 5 miles away in Ramsden Heath. I cycled there and back every day.
Life after the war
Did you return back to their pre-war occupation? I returned to my previous job at the Co-op in 1944 as my GP decided that the farm work was too hard for me.
What was your / their occupation after the war? After the war I got married in 1946 to my husband, a soldier who I met in Billericay where he was billeted. We got a prefabricated home in 1947 and also had a son.
How did work in the WLA / WTC effect your/ their life? The work was very hard but had no permanent effects.
Name: Phil Sherry, son for Hilda Sherry.