Dec 012018

To end the year, we start not with a drawing on the front page of The Land Girl, but quite unusually – a photograph!


The front page photo of the December 1942 edition showed Lady Roosevelt amongst a sea of smiling Land Girls during her visit to Britain in November. The Land Girl opened it’s issue with the following reflection on the importance of co-operation between countries:

Mrs Roosevelt’s visit to this country was important not only immediately but because of its wider significance. […] The difficult lesson we have got to learn is that of our mutual dependence on one another – if we can’t sink our national pride and learn to get together we shall surely vanish from the face of the earth, fighting one another to the last gasp.

The Land Girl reported on the visit as ‘another link of friendship’ between Britain and America. Lady Roosevelt took a trip to see women threshing, thatching, silage making, and milking in Warwickshire. She was driven majestically through from Marston Hostel through to Oldberrow House Hostel in Henley-in-Arden.

Lady Roosevelt with Land Girls p.6

After a rather difficult journey for the tractor driver, Land Girl Margaret Browett, Lady Roosevelt then watched Land Girls ploughing with an American caterpillar tractor – the ‘special relationship’ in action. The Women’s Land Army then treated Lady Roosevelt to coffee and cakes, where she signed many an autograph book. She also received an album of photographs, ‘bound in deerskin, with the L.A. badge on the cover’.

This coverage of Lady Roosevelt’s visit was made complete, when The Land Girl published a telegram sent to Lady Denman:

The Exhibition which the Land Army arranged for me of its work at Oldberrow, was one of the most interesting features of my visit to Great Britain and I should be grateful if you would thank all those concerned and convey my congratulations and good wishes to all the members of the Land Army.

And did The Land Girl ever publish a Christmas design?

The front page drawing from the December 1944 edition of The Land Girl.

The front page drawing from the December 1944 edition of The Land Girl.

2 years later, The Land Girl published a jolly image drawn by Isobel Mount in Scotland. Those with a good memory might recall that Mount was also the artist behind the final design of The Land Girl, published in March 1947. She was also the author of the regular series Miss Baxter and I.

This is the last of the my posts which look at the front page of The Land Girl. To take a look back at the year of posts, click here. Keep tuned for a new way to mark every month in 2019.

Mar 012018

Isobel Mount, member of the Scottish WLA, drew this special design for the final edition of The Land Girl magazine, published in March 1947. This was the end of an era for the publication, with the editor noting how the magazine originated from the time when ‘the Land Army had just begun to show a rather sceptical world what it could do’. During the seven years of its publication, The Land Girl included many drawings from Land Girls, showing ‘there was no reason whatever why cows and culture should not go together’. This design was one of the only drawings which did not explicitly include a reference to agriculture, instead enshrining the closing of the book, as a woman puts down her quill for the last time. It is thus a very classical representation of a form of women’s writing, even though it brought women together into a community which was far from classical in the way it challenged the conventional gender roles assigned to women. From June 1947, The Land Army News, published information on the WLA until 1950, when the government officially disbanded the civilian organisation.

The front page illustration of The Land Girl by Isobel Mount, published in March 1947.

The front page illustration of The Land Girl by Isobel Mount, published in March 1947.

The Land Girl had previously drawn on Isobel Mount’s talents; she designed the front page of the December 1944 edition. Mount also wrote the regular series Miss Baxter and I.

Sep 282017

Mona K McLeod was just 17 years old when she joined the Women’s Land Army. In this interview for the BBC, Mona discusses how the war diverted her from applying to study at Cambridge to undertake valuable work as a Land Girl on farms in Scotland.

For more interviews with Mona, please see the following articles:

Aug 022017


Photo sent in by Elaine Robertson

Photo of Land Girls sent in by Elaine Robertson


The ladies in the picture are:

  • Lena Killpatrick (my mother from Glasgow)
  • Nan Thompson
  • Elgin Joan Bissit (Glasgow)
  • Mary Cullen (Glasgow)
  • Getta M’canns (up north)
  • Jean Sanderson (Edinburgh)
  • Irene (Glasgow) Jackie (Aberdeen)
  • Betty Cullen (Glasgow)
  • Rena M’Neal Tollcross (Glasgow)
  • Miss Munro the Matron Molly Lawrence (Glasgow)
  • Celia Fulton (Glasgow)

The address where they stayed in the Land Army was Rosskean Hostel, Invergordon Ross-shire.

My mother was in the land army from 1946 till 1948

Elaine Robertson.

Mar 012017

Bicycles, which were often used as transport from the girls’ accommodation to the farms were vital, once they got to know their way around the country lanes. Having your own (or a WLA bicycle) gave you freedom of movement in a country area. There were no road signs, so as to not aid the enemy in attack. Dimmed bicycle lamps at night also made it extremely difficult for the girls to find their way around.

“Another time I was biking home for lunch when the cows were being taken for milking. Behind them were some troops from Grange Camp. Not wanting them to see a Land Army girl frightened of cows I rode through them when a tail flicked out and hit me in the face, knocking me off the bike. There I sat, my bike on top of me, a dirty face and the troops laughing.

Mrs. K.A. Scott. [Maiden name unknown]

Source: ‘Bedford on Sunday’ newspaper, 24 April 1977, p5. Courtesy of Stuart Antrobus

Land Girls and Lumber Jills on Bikes

From left to right, top to bottom:

  • Unknown land girl at a north Bedfordhsire hostel. Note the makeshift straw-bale garage for the hostel lorry which took land girls out to farms each day. Source: Stuart Antrobus.
  • Black and white copy negative of Jean Johnstone, a member of the Women’s Timber Corps, posing with her bicycle beside Loch Eddy, Peeblesshire, c. 1941 – 1946. Source: National Museums Scotland
  • Unknown Land Girl by her bike. Source: Caro-jon-son (Flickr)
  • Joan Birchall and her WLA colleagues arriving or leaving Hope House, Ipswich. Source: Kara Lynn


For more on the history of cycling, please click here to visit Sheila Hanlon’s excellent website.

Jun 102014

I joined the Women’s Land Army. Our jobs were to work on the farms. The Women’s Land Army, I thought was so glamorous to join — and then I never worked so hard in my life!

Read more on Jennette’s time in the Women’s Land Army in an article written by Nancy Stearns Theiss, executive director of the Oldham History Center, USA.

Jennette H. Foley was a member of the Women’s Land Army in Great Britain during World War II. (Photo: Oldham County History Center)

Jennette H. Foley was a member of the Women’s Land Army in Great Britain during World War II.
(Photo: Oldham County History Center)