Stella Chandler (née Skinner)
First Name(s): Stella Mildred
Unmarried Surname: Skinner
Married Surname: Chandler
Date of Birth: 11/06/1923
Place of Birth: Alverstoke, Gosport
Date joined WLA: 09/11/1942
Date left: 27/04/1946
WLA number: 99938
Previous occupation: Shop assistant in agricultural ironmongers.
Reasons for joining: A friend Ethel Bell had introduced Stella to the Young Farmer’s Club and awakened an interest in farming in her.
Family’s reaction to joining: As far as I know they were encouraging, certainly not hostile. We think they were proud of her contribution to the war effort.
Treatment by farmers: Poor treatment on first farm. After that fine.
Reasons for leaving: End of war. Training to become a teacher.
Pre-work training: Four weeks at Cheshire School of Agriculture at Reasheath.
Employed by: Private farmer – Near Macclesfield at first after one year at Holmes Chapel with Mr John Cross.
Dates with employer:
1944? – 1946 – John Cross, Holmes Chapel – market gardening, hens, bees, cows
1943 – 1944 – Jim Evans, Middlewich – MIlking, mucking out, manure spreading, work with horses
1942 – 1943 – ? , Macclesfield
Farm name, village and county: Holmes Chapel, Cheshire
Type of work undertaken: General farm work, with horses, on the fields, mucking out shippons, milking etc.
Work liked most and least:
Least: Muck spreading and potato digging.
Most: Growing vegetables and flowers, picking and bunching ready for market.
Any accidents: Kicked by a horse and badly bruised on the thigh.
Best and worst memories of time:
As far as I know from her
- Falling in love with the farmer’s son but him not being interested in her.
- The first farm – a dirty bed and loneliness.
- John Crosses farm – the flowers and marketing them.
Opportunities to meet others: Stella never spoke of others but kept a book from Dorothy, remembering their years in the WLA.
How did work in the WLA/WTC effect their life? Stella always had great empathy with the countryside and horticulture and loved her garden, continuing gardening until she died.
Accommodation in: Private billet.
Life after the war
Did they return back to their pre-war occupation? No
What was their occupation after the war? Teacher – became headteacher in 1960s
Did they stay on the land? No
How did work in the WLA effect their life? Stella always had great empathy with the countryside and horticulture and loved her garden, continuing gardening until she died.
Any outstanding events or achievements in WLA or in later life? Becoming headteacher. Giving vote of thanks at WLA event. Gaining B. ED at Roehampton. (Her teacher training recognised at last)
Name: Ann Heymans
Relationship to Land Girl: Niece