Marjorie Barthorpe (née Walker)
First Name(s): Marjorie
Unmarried Surname: Walker
Married Surname: Barthorpe
Date of Birth: 24/09/1926
Place of Birth: Ecclesfield (Sheffield)
Date joined WLA: 1943
Date left: 1945
Treatment by farmers: Mixed, some good and kind, others very hard taskmaster.
Reasons for leaving: End of war/birth of son.
Type of work undertaken: All aspects of arable farming. Harvesting, hoeing, planting, yard work.
A poem written by Marjorie about her time in the WLA
We didn’t have to learn to march
Or stand to attention and salute
We didn’t Learn to fly a plane
Or safely pack a parachute
We were the Land Girls dressed in brown and green
Early every morning on our bikes we could be seen
All four seasons off we would go, doing our bit to fight the foe
On bikes with two wheels and a shaky frame
Riding round fields and up muddy lanes
Digging ditches in frost and snow
Cheeks and noses all aglow
Helping farmers to sow their seeds
Hoeing and pulling up stubborn weeds
Hay-time came, we had some fun
Making haycocks in the sun
Harvest brought the mellow days
Packing potatoes in the morning haze
Topping carrots was no fun
Specially on days we saw no sun
We could work on the farm just like any man
On just a sandwich filled with spam
Looking back, we made many a friend
Singing songs that were the latest trend
“White cliffs of Dover” and “We‘ll meet again”
Lovely happy memories of sweet refrains
It wasn’t always lots of fun
But we remember a job well done
Accommodation in: Based in Ranskill. They cycled out from the billet to various farmers. She said that they just had a pool of bikes that worked on a whoever got there on a first. She said they were generally well used and abused, “2 wheels and brakes (if you were lucky)”. Last to get to the shed in the morning got what was left likely including a puncture. There was someone around the billets who did repairs if needed. Getting the last bike though could end up with you arriving late at the farm and an ear bending.
The arrangement was that they worked a set amount of hours each day. One particular farmer would make them work the allotted time regardless. So if you arrived late you left late and any other time lost was to be made up by working on.
Life after the war
Did they return back to their pre-war occupation? No pre-war occupation (at school)
What was their occupation after the war? Housewife, General Farm labour
Did they stay on the land? Yes
Name: Andrew Barthorpe, son.