Oct 012018

Well can you believe we are in October now? October welcomes in the tenth post in our series of illustrations from the front over of The Land Girl magazine. The October editions of The Land Girl for 1944 and 1945 used two drawings by Audrey Wakeford who worked in Berkshire. The beady eyed of you might remember that an ‘A Wakeford’ designed the February 1947 edition, which showed a woman using a scythe. Going back to October 1944, Wakeford draws a common task for a Land Girl, ploughing the fields. The posture of the Land Girl emphasises the strength that women needed to undertake this task. The clear landscape behind shows her progress in ploughing the fields, suggesting that she might be at the end of her work for the day – or ready to start on another field. She portrays the Land Girls as being in control of her horses and able to carry out this farming task successfully.

October 1944 Cover

Her design for October 1945 shifts from focusing on the Land Girl herself to poultry. We see here some detailed drawings of hens and chickens at different stages of the life cycle. Land Girls would often be responsible for looking after poultry, showing another area of work where women developed experience during their time in the Women’s Land Army. It appears that Wakeford used her illustrations to highlight the breadth of work expected of women as the war drew to a close.

October 1945 Cover

Feb 012018

The first editions of The Land Girl magazine included an illustration which occupied a significant proportion of the front page. These illustrations were larger than later editions, where the illustrations were to incorporate The Land Girl title. For February, we have two title pages from 1941 and in 1947. Unfortunately, I’m not aware who illustrated the 1941 edition, but regular contributor Audrey Wakeford (40839) drew the 1947 image. The 1941 silhouette is particularly striking in highlighting the Land Girl’s body, drawing on tropes from the period to indicate femininity, such as the wasp-waist.  Wakeford’s 1947 illustration shows a Land Girl using a scythe, possibly on a flax plant (which was later manufactured into linen) or weeds. Whereas the 1941 illustration is somewhat posed, Wakeford’s drawing focuses on the physicality required of Land Girls in farming.

February 1941 edition of The Land Girl

February 1941 edition of The Land Girl. Artist unknown.


February 1947 by Miss Audrey Wakeford (40839), Berkshire

February 1947 by Miss Audrey Wakeford (40839), Berkshire

Jan 012018

To mark the first day of every month in 2018, we will be looking at a range of illustrations which Land Girls themselves drew and sent in for The Land Girl magazine. Not only were Land Girls and Lumber Jills working hard on the land and in the forests, but some also found the time to put pen to paper and draw!

In 1942, the front page of The Land Girl contained the following about the rotation of illustrations for The Land Girl covers:

New Departures from the front page of the April 1942 edition of The Land Girl.

New Departures from the front page of the April 1942 edition of The Land Girl.

Not only are these illustrations interesting to look at, but they are are useful for considering how Land Girls came to represent their experiences – sometimes humorously, sometimes seriously. As you can see from the selection of images below, some were simple sketches such as the one used for January 1942. Others were more detailed, as seen with the effective use of shading by Audrey Wakeford and Anthea Shelmerdine for January 1946 and 1947 respectively. These illustrations portray Land Girls undertaking several jobs such as feeding lambs, milking cows, delivering milk, clearing, and picking potatoes.

The Land Girl Image January 1942

January 1942 by Miss Barbara Hey.

The Land Girl Image January 1943

January 1943, by Miss J Salisbury (72819), Warwickshire.

The Land Girl Image January 1944

January 1944 by Miss Audrey Wakeford (40839), Berkshire

The Land Girl Image January 1945

January 1945 by E.Wright (73902), who won first prize in a WLA Handicrafts Exhibition in West Suffolk.

The Land Girl Image January 1946

January 1946 by Audrey Wakeford (40839), Berkshire, whose work makes another appearance.

The Land Girl Image January 1947

January 1947 by Anthea Shelmerdine (36469), Salop


Oct 012017
Nights Out and Dancing Collage

A Night Out and Dancing Collage


From left to right, top to bottom:

  • Land Girls and Lumber Jills, some in uniform, some in mufti, dance with British soldiers at a dance in a large hall, near to their camp in Culford, Suffolk. The dance band plays and Union flags, and the flags of America and Russia decorate the walls above the musicians. A poster to the right of the stage advertises another event to be held at the Corn Exchange on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 May. Source: IWM D 14123
  • Land Army holiday camp, Cookham, 1942. Source: Mirrorpix

  • Lily Harrison, Barbara Wilson, and Mona Feather (l to r) from Milton Ernest WLA hostel in Bedfordshire ready for a ‘night out’ after a hard week’s work, c.1940s. Source: Stuart Antrobus

  • British Land Army girls and members of the Women’s Royal Air Force (WAAF) dance with men of the US Eighth Army Air Force in Suffolk during 1943. Source: Pinterest
Nov 192015

I am researching the WLA for a novel and would be most interested to speak with women who were in the WLA and anyone else who has primary information about their experiences in the WLA. I am particularly interested in hearing from people with links to the Berkshire WLA as this is where I live and where my novel will be set. Thank you for any help or information you can provide.

Vanessa Jones, millyclayson75@gmail.com

Dec 052014

For more information on Lillian May Rance, please go to her separate record page here.

My Aunt, Lillian May Rance, was a Land Girl in World War One.  The only information I heard about her experiences was that her father did not approve of her attire – “Too much like a man!”.  The attached photograph came from my grandmother’s collection.  On the back it says “Maggie Kent’s Wedding”. My Aunt is standing behind the groom.  Clearly the Land Girls formed the Guard of Honour. My Aunt lived in Bracknell, Berkshire, at the time, so it must have taken place there or nearby.

Joan Hubbard

Lillian May Rance in the World War One Women's Land Army

Lillian May Rance, standing behind the groom, with other Land Girls of the World War One Women’s Land Army. Source: Joan Hubbard