Joan Hawkins (née Treeby)
First Name(s): Joan
Unmarried Surname: Treeby
Married Surname: Hawkins
Date of Birth: 5/10/1925
Date of Death: 5/04/2012
Place of Birth: Harlesdon, Middlesex
Date Joined WLA: c. May 1944
Date Left WLA: c. November 1945
WLA Number: 143089
Previous occupation: Trained to be a secretary
Reasons for joining: Joan was 18 years old in October 1943 and because her eyesight was not good enough to join the services the choices she had were to work in a munitions factory or join the Land Army. She was able to ride a horse, loved the countryside and did not want to work in a factory so the WLA beckoned! Dorset, at that time, seemed a long way from London so joining the WLA seemed like a great adventure.
Family’s reaction to joining: I think her parents were supportive. As Joan settled in this occupation, particularly at her final location they came down to visit and became friendly with the people who would be her future parents in-law.
Type of work undertaken: General farm work, milking (by hand), work with horses, harvesting etc.
Work liked most and least: She generally enjoyed the work although the employers were not always so pleasant. I believe she ‘fell out’ with her first employer, which is why she moved on to her second employer.
Any accidents or injuries sustained by you or by fellow workers and what effect they had: She had an accident on a horse where a motor vehicle scared the horse and it threw her. She also hurt her back pitching straw bales during the harvest. After this she went on lighter duties doing secretarial work in the WLA office in Dorchester.
Best and worst memories of time: The farmers expected the young women to work as hard as the men (which was not always possible when it came to heavy lifting etc). At her final location she established a very good relationship with her land lord/lady and latterly their son whom of course she ended up marrying.
Reactions of local people towards WLA / WTC: She spoke of the initial wariness of ‘country folk’ to a ‘townie’ working on the farm, but found the people warm hearted once they got to know her.
Reasons for leaving: Joan left her first employer, Lord Digby, as they fell out. I believe coming from the city she was not used to, or would not, bow and scrape to his lordship in the way that the locals did! Joan left her second employer as she developed an allergy to dairy/milk and went to work on a more arable farm. Joan left her third employer after she hurt her back lifting heavy bales during the harvest.
Any outstanding events or achievements in WLA / WTC or in later life: Joan had one article published in the Dorset yearbook and has had letters published in the local (Dorset) press and a letter in the Sunday Telegraph.
Employed: Private farmer
- Lord Digby – Minterne Magna Dorset
- John Lock – Rampisham Dorset
- Harry Christopher – Stratton Dorset
- Land Army Office Dorchester – secretarial work
Dates with employer: 1944 – 1945
Farm Name: Not known
Accommodation in: Private billet
With reference to above locations:
- Not known
- Lodged with Farmer
- Lodged with Mr & Mrs Hawkins of West Hall Dairy Stratton
Life after the war
Did you / they return back to their pre-war occupation?
My mother’s occupation before joining the WLA was secretarial work. After the war she took secretarial jobs, including at the WLA office in Dorchester.
She met my father Norman Hawkins while lodging with his parents in Stratton Dorset, married him in 1949, had 3 children and spent the rest of her life in Dorset
What was your / their occupation after the war? Secretary
Did you / they stay on the land? No (husband joined the police force)
How did work in the WLA / WTC effect your/ their life? As said above, although only in the WLA for less than two years it had a huge effect on her life, meeting and marrying her husband in Dorset.
Please say whether these experiences have been recorded or published before: Joan had one article published in the Dorset yearbook and has had letters published in the local (Dorset) press and a letter in the Sunday Telegraph.
Name: Paul Hawkins
Relationship to Land Girl: Son