Elsie Adelaide Humm (née Beckett)
In 1942, Elsie Beckett lived on Lindisfarne Road, Dagenham, Essex and worked in Barton’s bakery. In the same year, the 19-year old joined the Women’s Land Army. Swapping Bartons Bakery for the Braintree War Agricultural Committee, she continued to work in the county for the rest of the war. She stayed in the WLA until August 1945, when she was released having spent over 3 years away from home. During this time, she met her husband, Corporal Humm of the 32nd Fortress Coy, Royal Engineers, who she married in 1944.
Elsie kept some of the correspondence relating to her time in the WLA, which have since found its way into Catherine Procter’s WLA collection. This correspondence includes letters welcoming her to the WLA, issuing her WLA number (67487), alongside her uniform. Though the WLA issued Elsie a WLA number, she received no WLA badge owing to metal shortages. Elsie also didn’t receive her full uniform; the receipt shows that she didn’t have her oilskin and gumboots as these were out of stock. Elsie also kept letters sent by Organising Secretary Mrs C L Strickland, responding to correspondence from her husband, who wrote from Gibraltar asking for his wife’s release in July 1945. Upon receiving notification of her husband’s request, it appears that Elsie wrote to Mrs Strickland asking for her release in August 1945.
Letter: Welcome to the Essex Women’s Land Army
Letter: Allocation of work on Braintree farm
Letter: Issuing of WLA number
Coupon Vouchers & WLA Membership Card
Table of Minimum Wage Rates, January 1942
WLA Uniform Receipt
Letter: From husband and Elsie Hums (née Beckett) concerning Elsie’s release
Source: Catherine Procter Collection