June Snapshot in 5: Hampshire
This June ‘Snapshot in 5 post’ features the work of the WLA in Hampshire. If you were a Land Girl who worked in Hampshire or know one who was, then drop me an e-mail.
1. Hampshire Land Girls clutching sheaves of corn.
This photograph shows Daphne with fellow Land Girl Paddy, holding sheaves of corn after the harvest. Daphne remembers on ‘steamy hot day during a bad harvest rescuing sheaves, green with shoots and disturbing a wasps’ nest, a 100 yds. sprint to the nearest tree and quick strip-off saving me from hysterics.’
Daphne also recounts how ‘the dust when we threshed was diabolical, but we were young and enthusiastic, and above all, patriotic.’
2. A lithograph drawing of Land Girls picking cabbages.
The drawing by Archibald Standish Hartrick in 1940 shows Land Girls harvesting cabbages as they stand in a Hampshire field close to the coast. The accompanying caption from the period reads as follows:
“The scene is Hampshire, with the Isle of Wight beyond. Milk, poultry and vegetables are all supplied to the Naval hospital ships, mainly through the efforts of the Women’s Land Army.”
Source: Imperial War Museum, Art.IWM ART 16648 d
3. Land Girls driving tractors through Southampton in 1946.
Reporting on this parade, the local paper shared how thousands of people congregated in Southampton town centre to watch Land Girls march from the Royal Pier, following the Royal Marines through the town centre. The paper went on:
“Though it lacked the military precision which has for so long characterised the British war scene, the parade probably had a warmer appeal to the large crowds who watched it by reason of the vigorous spirit of the Land Girls, their colourful dress, the farm tractors and the decorated horses and carts at the head of the procession.”
Source: The Daily Echo
4. Gwendoline Place thatching a roof.
Gwendoline Place (née Raggett) thatching a roof on a farm in Andover. This photo was published in the local paper back home, celebrating Gwen’s work and to encourage others to enrol in the WLA to support the war effort. However, the photograph backfired. A WLA representative visited Gwen to condemn her for bringing disrepute onto the WLA through her lack of clothing. Gwen remembers how it was such a hot day that she had removed her shirt and tucked it into her shorts. Though the WLA was a civilian organisation, the organisation wanted to ensure that its’ members did not bring sully its reputation, especially in face of early criticism from farmers and rural communities.
Source: Gwendline Place (née Raggett) photograph collection.
5. A WLA doll made for a Hampshire Land Girl.
This WLA doll that was made and given to Land Girl Winifred Dawe in honour of her wartime service in Hampshire. Winifred worked in the WLA from 1940 to 1943 at Steventon Farm before continuing her service in Scotland in 1943. Notice how the WLA doll wears Winifred’s original WLA badge and proficiency badge on her arm. Such items were an important way to commemorate a Land Girl’s service. In retrospect, Winifred wished that she had joined one of the women’s military services as she would have benefited from a better pension.
If you’re interested in knitting the clothes for your own WLA doll, then you can download the knitting patterns here.
Source: Barron Maps
Further information on the WLA in Hampshire
Chairman: Mrs. Chute, The Vyne, Basingstoke
Secretary: Mrs E.M.Cherrington, The Castle, Winchester
Anne Hall, Land Girl: Her Story of Six Years in the Women’s Land Army, 1940-46 (Bradford on Avon: Ex Libris, 1993).
Find out more
Did you or a member of family work in Hampshire as a Land Girl? If so, then get in touch.
Interested in seeing more material relating to the WLA in Hampshire? Click here or take a look at the archive material below.