Jean Lily Kinston (née Holmes)
First Name(s): Jean Lily
Unmarried Surname: Holmes
Married Surname: Kinston
Date of Birth: 22.7.1930
Place of Birth: East Ham, London
Date Joined WLA: August 1948
Date Left WLA: July 1950
WLA Number: 197281
Previous occupation: I left school at 14 years. First jobs market gardening and farming due to living in Sussex as an evacuee.
Reasons for joining: Having spent the war years evacuated to Sussex, returning to East London in 1946 was so depressing. I kept trying to join the WLA, but was not accepted until I became 18 years.
Family’s reaction to joining: The family had no objection. I think they understood my dislike of city streets and the longing for the countryside.
Reactions of local people: By the time I joined, local people were very accustomed to the WLA girls, so no problems.
No pre-work training.
Worked for County War Agricultural Committee on several farms, including in Ashby-De-La-Zouch, Leicestershire. Carried out general farm work, milking, and stock rearing. Worked with
- Elsie Jeffries
- Joan Cooper
- Grace Edwards
- Peggy Gilders
- Jean Parker
- Betty Booth
- Doreen Eld
- Beryl Crane
- Mary Cufflin
- Vera Nummy
- Betty Crozen
Work liked most and least: The favourite work: milking and animal welfare. The worst jobs were: packing brussel sprouts in the snow, cutting kale and mangold wurzels [a type of root vegetable].
Any accidents or injuries: Fortunately, no accidents.
Best and worst memories of time: The best memories were the companionship of the other girls, the beauty of the country, the fresh air and freedom. The worst memories were the cold and wet working conditions.
Treatment by farmers or market gardeners: The farmers in general treated us reasonably well. They were aware that we did a good job and could be trusted to work without supervision.
WLA Hostel, Leicester Road
Life after the war
Reasons for leaving: The hostel was closed to us and we were offered alternative accommodation. Then the building was used to house displaced persons from Europe.
Post-war occupation: Various jobs. I did not return to London. I worked on a farm (in lodgings) and market garden. I got married and did various jobs, (e.g. shops and office).
How did work in the WTC effect your life? The two years I feel were the happiest of my life.
Name: Jean Holmes