Joan ‘Bunty’ McCluskey (née Cooper)
First Name(s): Joan (known as Bunty)
Unmarried Surname: Cooper
Married Surname: McCluskey
Date of Birth: 24.3.22, Nottingham
Date joined WLA: 29.6.42
Date left WLA: 4.1.1946
Reasons for joining: She didn’t want to join the other services or work in a factory.
Family’s reaction to joining: Her sister decided to join the Land Army as well. As far as she can remember, there was no reaction from her mother.
Reactions of local people towards WLA: The Marvin family who owned the pub at Hilltop were very kind to the Land Girls and invited them for meals.
Treatment by farmer or market gardeners: She was well treated by the farmers
Reasons for leaving: Joan’s sister Beryl formed a relationship with Frank Wixey (known by the girls as Lofty, because he was very tall) who was stationed with the army in Beaulieu, and Beryl was asked to move to a different area. She transferred to Bunny in Nottinghamshire, and Joan decided to go with her. She regretted this move, as it turned out that Beryl was pregnant and was unable to continue working there. However, Joan remained in the Land Army until the end of the war, resuming her work at Cadbury’s in January 1946.
Worked in various farms in Beaulieu, Hampshire. Lived in Dock House, Dock Lane, Beaulieu.
Transferred to Nottinghamshire and worked in Bunny. Worked with
- Beryl Cooper (sister)
- Edna Keenan
- Jean Selby (Carruthers)
- Peggy Roberts
- Dorothy Poulton
- Margaret Corin (Dock House Warden)
Type of work undertaken: Work in the fields, including hoeing, which they did on their first day, and threshing, which was backbreaking work.
Work liked most and least: She wasn’t keen on threshing, as it produced a lot of dust and dirt. She wasn’t particularly fond of any of the work, but she enjoyed being with the other girls.
Any accidents? She hurt her arm (she can’t remember how), it was put in a sling and she had to return home until she was fit for work.
Best and worst memories: The work was hard, and the food wasn’t very good, but Miss Corin, the warden at Dock House, got on well with the girls and kept in touch with them after the war.
Life after the war
Post-war occupation: Cadbury’s showroom manager, pre-war job
How did work in the WLA effect your life? Made new friends.
Any outstanding achievements: Cadbury’s Nottingham office closed in 1949, and after a short period working for the Co-op, Joan trained as a teacher, studying at Didsbury College, Manchester, where she met her future husband. She worked as a teacher until her retirement.
Fiona McCluskey, daughter.