Ivy Hilda Jarrett (née Hogg)
“When war broke out I was only fourteen, so I could not help in any way. When I was seventeen I went down to Military Road in Chatham, with my mother, to a room over a shop called Burtons. As I had two brothers in the Royal Engineers and one in the Royal Air Force I thought I would do my bit and join the WRAFs.
I had to tell them my age and they said sorry you have to be 17 1/2. I was very disappointed so I came home again. In the meantime I went to visit my cousin, who was at that time in the Women’s Land Army.
I didn’t mind if I left home but my cousin worked for a farmer in Cobham (Kent), he applied to take me on and I applied to go to work for him.
The summer months were lovely, picking all the different fruits to go up to market, but it was a very different story in the winter, picking Brussels and different cabbages in the frosty weather was awful. I did get to drive a tractor, which I couldn’t wait to do.
I left the WLA when I could after doing over two and a half years. I think I was lucky with the uniform that I was allocated. The mac was offwhite just like army officers wore and the breeches were not corduroy they were Khaki in colour and nice material.”
First Name(s): Ivy Hilda
Unmarried Surname: Hogg
Married Surname: Jarrett
Date of Birth: 22.11.1925
Place of Birth: Meopham
Date Joined WLA: 1943
Date Left WLA: 1945/6
WLA Number: 113060
Previous occupation: Worked in service at Meopham Court.
Reasons for joining: I wasn’t old enough to join the W.A.Fs. Also 2 brothers in the army and and 1 in the RAF. Made me want to do something and meant I could live at home.
Family’s reaction to joining: They were very supportive.
No pre-work training.
Worked for Mr Lawrence on Dabbs Place Farm from 1943 to 1946 in Kent, Cobham.
Lived at family home, No.4 Huntingfield Road, Meopham, Kent.
Type of work undertaken: Fruit picking, cutting cabbage, potato collecting.
Work liked most and least: Summer work was best. Didn’t like getting so wet in the winter.
Any accidents or injuries: None to me, but working near Gravesend Airfield where 2 friends were killed by an aircraft crashing. Very sad.
Best and worst memories of time: Done my bit and could cycle there and back. Seeing the air crash was the worst.
Opportunities to meet other Land Girls: Met up with other Land Girls with cousin Peggy to march through Northfleet.
Treatment by farmers or market gardeners: All very friendly.
Any outstanding events or achievements: Cousin Peggy and I did go up to Cenotaph once to meet other Land Girls.
Any other comments on time in the WLA/WTC: Even though the work was hard during the day we enjoying going dancing in the evening. We wanted to do our bit especially as my brothers were away in the forces. It was hard but we survived.
Life after the war
Reasons for leaving: It was the end of the war.
Post-war occupation: Painted tins in a paint/varnish factory by Solestreet Station
How did work in the WLA effect your life? Enjoyed summer work, fruit picking etc. But winter not so nice, affected my knees.
Name: Maureen and Pauline Smith, daughters.
Mum said the girls were all in a line planting potatoes when the plane (I think) was taking off from Gravesend airfield but wasn’t high enough. The 2 land girls that were killed were the ones where the propellors were – ghastly to think how it could have been any of them depending where they stood.
Also they had to go back the next day and finish the planting. (Made of sterner stuff in those days – just had to get on with the job.) Mum thinks one of the women killed was called Florrie Vowsden.
Her sister was also a land girl, Mrs Redsall.
Another land girl with mum was Mrs Vi Powner and her husband was called Wally. Also Jean Gibbons and Mrs James.