New Year’s Eve Message 2016
2016 has continued to see much interest in the work of the Women’s Land Army and the Women’s Timber Corps. This message summarises WLA and WTC developments as 2016 comes to close.
We’ve marked the start of each month in 2016 with monthly collages, focusing on the work of Land Girls and Lumber Jills. Stuart Antrobus, WLA historian (and author of ‘We Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World: The Women’s Land Army in Bedfordshire’) has been invaluable in sharing some brilliant photos of women on the land – from tending animals to threshing to ploughing. Next year we continue our monthly collage, focusing on Land Girls and Lumber Jills at play. If you have any photos of Land Girls and Lumber Jills during their leisure time, then please get in touch.
National Memorial Arboretum
Personal highlights of 2016 included presenting at the National Memorial Arboretum in September. I enjoyed preparing and giving a 45-minute talk on the work of the Women’s Land Army and Women’s Timber Corps during the First and Second World War. It was great to raise money for the Arboretum and talk to people who wanted to find out more about these organisations. I also had the opportunity to meet individuals in person who I had exchanged e-mails with through the website – it was great to match faces to names! After the talk, many went to look at the WLA and WTC memorial afterwards, which has now been standing for over two years. On a personal note, this website celebrated its 5th birthday in February this year. The website has evolved beyond all imagination, from a college project to the national online hub for information on the work of the WLA and WTC in the First and Second World War.
The Women’s Timber Corps
2016 also witnessed the first play on the work of the Women’s Timber Corps entitled ‘Lumber Jills’, performed in July 2016 in Dalby Forest. The play was a success and provided a sensitive and accurate representation of life in the WTC. I looked at this as part of my dissertation on the Women’s Timber Corps for my BA in History at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. I have spent much of my first term of the final year working on my dissertation on the Women’s Timber Corps, under the supervision of Dr Lucy Delap. It has been fascinating to consider the role of the WTC in Second World War Britain in greater detail, using a range of sources including memoirs, photos, newspaper articles and memorials. I will hand in the final dissertation in Easter this year, but in the meantime, I hope to increase information on the WTC pages of this site.
There has been a number of television programmes covering the work of the Women’s Land Army. Earlier on the year, Heir Hunters broadcasted an interview with me in 2015, which considered the work undertaken by Land Girl Eileen Joan Berry. A BBC 4 documentary charting the story of feminist publishers Virago used rare footage of First World War women forestry workers of the WLA. Also BBC 4, shared First World War Land Girl footage in the episode entitled World War One at Home: The Equine Army for their episode entitled Army’s Remount Depots. Most recently, an episode of Aled Jones’ Giving Back focused on a Land Girl’s story.
Thank you to all those who continue supporting Women’s Land Army.co.uk, whether that through the website, on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. Many thanks also go to Stuart Antrobus, Dr Lucy Delap, Catherine Procter and my family who have played a significant part in supporting the ongoing development of the website and my thinking on the work of the WLA and WTC.
Best Wishes for 2017.