The Women’s Land Army looked for physically fit young, unmarried women, who had no dependents, who were mature enough to leave home and be sent anywhere in the country.
The process of signing up to the Women’s Land Army was as follows:
Women enrolled at a local Women’s Land Army headquarters, or by registering their name on the National Service Guide at the local post office. Women had to be 17.5 years old in order to join the Women’s Land Army (although some women joined when they were younger).
They underwent a medical test (paid for by the Ministry of Agriculture). This wasn’t usually that strenuous – in some cases, the doctor just signed their certificate without carrying out any checks. However girls of a smaller size were questioned about whether they would be able to cope with the heavy manual work. ‘Well-turned’ girls were also questioned about their ability to ‘muck down’ to the country lifestyle.
Women were invited to attend an interview. This would give the panel a chance to meet the young woman in person. The young women applicants were usually asked questions on the following:
- Previous work
- Work preference
- Uniform size
- Present occupations
- Whether they required a bike
- Experience of country life
- 2 desired locations for working
Women had to present their medical certificate, along with two character references. A check also had to be made to ensure that women was not already in reserved occupations (jobs that were essential to war).
If successful, their name was then added to the country register, where the WLA then matched them up with a local farmer. Women also received the Women’s Land Army badge. Once the war had started, women had to pledge themselves for the duration of the war.