Margaret Olver (née Vass)
First Name(s): Margaret Selina Alice
Unmarried Surname: Vass
Married Surname: Olver
Date of Birth: 24.10.1926, Lewisham Hospital
Date Joined WLA: 1943
Date Left WLA: December 1947
Previous occupation: I was at college at Guildford.
Reasons for joining: I came down to Cornwall as my brother and sisters had been evacuated down from London. I loved that kind of life.
Family’s reaction to joining: They encouraged me to join.
Reactions of local people towards WLA: Very friendly, helpful, supporting.
Treatment by farmers: Mr Williams was a wonderful boss who treated us with respect. Mr Sargent from Quethiock was also very good to work for.
Reasons for leaving: Marriage 1947 (Feb). Left WLA in December 1947.
Employment and accommodation
Employed by: Mr Glanville Williams, Bodilly Poultry Farm, Wendron, Helston, Cornwall. (We nicknamed him ‘Bossy’. Everyone called him ‘Bossy’ as we didn’t like to call him Glanville.) This was my first post as a Land Girl in 1943. I was there 12-18 months.
Worked with Vicky Brownlow, Marjorie Osborne, Irene Goulding (Irene left and Dorothy Harris replaced her). I went into lodgings with Dorothy Harris. I used to meet up with Margaret Hall from another farm and go to the beach, pictures etc together.
Type of work undertaken: General farm work, milking cows, mucking out etc.
Work liked most and least: Milking, driving horse and cart, mucking out. Nothing I disliked.
Best and worst memories of time: Best time – my taking Jessy the horse to be shod which I have written about in my book.
Accommodation in: Lived in a private billet in Mr Glanville William’s farmhouse. Later, I moved into a billet lodgings with another girl. I had a Land Army bike and used to cycle about 3 miles to work on the farm. It was on the main Redruth Helston Road.
Transferred to: Calstock. Irene Goulding (Rinie) had already gone there. I followed after a while, I decided to move to a farm on Quethiock. I can’t remember how long I was a Calstock.
Mr Sargent was after a Land Army girl to work on his farm at Quethiock. I got the job at West Trehunist Farm. I stayed in the farm house until I left to get married to a local man from Trehunist, a farmer’s son from another farm.
Opportunities to meet other Land Girls: When at Bodilly, we were a group – used to go to WMCA at Helston for coffee and a chat. I used to meet up with Margaret Hall from another farm to go to the beach at Falmouth, pictures etc. At Calstock, I used to go to chapel with Irene.
Life after the war
Did you return back to their pre-war occupation?: After the war I stayed in Cornwall with my husband. We moved into a little cottage in Henwood and then into an old mill. My younger brother and sisters were evacuees as children from London. They never returned to London. My Dad had to give up work because of heart problems. They moved to Cornwall.
What was your occupation after the war?: I was a housewife. We also rented a small holding for a while so I was back with looking after animals again. Sadly my husband’s ill health made us give it up. He died aged 40.
How did work in the WLA effect your life? They were the best years of my teenage life, hardworking but I loved every minute.
Any outstanding events or achievements in WLA or in later life: My husband became very ill and died aged 40. I brought up my 4 children then on my own. Became a school cook in local school, went potato picking at weekends. I also did temporary jobs while cooking in the school – delivering leaflets, cooking in local pub, cleaning in people’s homes.
Any other comments on time in WLA: At Bodilly we were altogether in the farmhouse. There was a small tin bath in the outhouse. We used cold water, or we would use a jug and basin in the bedroom. Had to start the generator by hand, not sure if it was for hatchery or farmhouse.
Any other information: After being at Bodilly for 10 days – 2 weeks there was a big fire at night. We all had to get out because the fire was intense. Hatchery was burnt down with all the poultry in it. After the fire, they rebuilt it in a different field. I helped carry the blocks to rebuild. When I married in 1947, we stayed on my in-law’s farm at Quethiock until I left the Land Army and we moved to Henwood.
Name: Margaret, with the help of her daughter Julia Cook.