March: Land Girls and Lumber Jills on bikes
Bicycles, which were often used as transport from the girls’ accommodation to the farms were vital, once they got to know their way around the country lanes. Having your own (or a WLA bicycle) gave you freedom of movement in a country area. There were no road signs, so as to not aid the enemy in attack. Dimmed bicycle lamps at night also made it extremely difficult for the girls to find their way around.
“Another time I was biking home for lunch when the cows were being taken for milking. Behind them were some troops from Grange Camp. Not wanting them to see a Land Army girl frightened of cows I rode through them when a tail flicked out and hit me in the face, knocking me off the bike. There I sat, my bike on top of me, a dirty face and the troops laughing.
Mrs. K.A. Scott. [Maiden name unknown]
Source: ‘Bedford on Sunday’ newspaper, 24 April 1977, p5. Courtesy of Stuart Antrobus
From left to right, top to bottom:
- Unknown land girl at a north Bedfordhsire hostel. Note the makeshift straw-bale garage for the hostel lorry which took land girls out to farms each day. Source: Stuart Antrobus.
- Black and white copy negative of Jean Johnstone, a member of the Women’s Timber Corps, posing with her bicycle beside Loch Eddy, Peeblesshire, c. 1941 – 1946. Source: National Museums Scotland
- Unknown Land Girl by her bike. Source: Caro-jon-son (Flickr)
- Joan Birchall and her WLA colleagues arriving or leaving Hope House, Ipswich. Source: Kara Lynn
For more on the history of cycling, please click here to visit Sheila Hanlon’s excellent website.