First Name(s): Vena
Unmarried Surname: Grain
Date of Birth: 21/2/1895
Place of Birth: Leicester
Date Joined WLA: Agriculture, c. 1917
Date Left WLA / WFC: c.1919
Farm: Beaumanor Farm and subsequently Lindley Lodge, a private school in Nuneaton, where Vena worked as a gardener.
In January 1919, Vena was awarded a Good Service Ribbon, which was presented by Mrs Lyttlelton. Here’s the write up of the event in the March 1919 edition of The Landswoman (p.75).
On joining the WLA
I left the factory 1917, September, and they was training girls, the Land Army girls at Beaumanor Farm, well of course that weren’t far from Quorn. Anyway when I joined the Land Army, the recruiting officer lived in Quorn at that time, a woman, her husband was Colonel Toller, they lived in the village, a big house, it’s turned into flats now, Quorn Court it was called, and I think I was her only recruit as she ever had [laughing] and I had to go up Hanging Stone Farm, and we used to live there…”Vena Grain, interviewed in 1985 by historian Shirley Aucott in 1985 when Vena was ninety years old.
Reflecting on the uniform
There was breeches, and boots as buckled down the side, my feet are suffering from ‘em now [laugh], and smocks – and then in the winter you was provided with a cardigan, and a sort of like a scout’s hat you wore
Working in the WLA
And we had to go down and I’d been taught to milk down at the Home Farm at Beaumanor and we had to go in the fields, spudding [dig up or cut] the thistles, and then it become the harvest, we had to put the shocks of wheat up and all that. Very interesting. Well, when you’d been there six weeks, the forelady as was over you, she, well they contacted them at Leicester and you had to leave and most of ‘em went on a farm, but they picked me for this gardening job, and I’d no idea where Nuneaton was, I had to go to Nuneaton, and it was like going to America now!
Name: Jane Elms
Relationship to Land Girl: Great-niece
If you’d like to read more information about Vena’s life, please click here to read a transcript of an interview conducted by historian Shirley Aucott in 1985. If you’d like to listen to the full interview, then click here.