Mary Whalley (née Hancock)
First Name(s): Mary
Unmarried Surname: Hancock
Married Surname: Whalley, married 6.12.1947
Date of Birth: 6.12.1927
Place of Birth: Sheffield
Date Joined WLA: Summer 1944
Date Left WLA: 1946
Previous occupation: Shop Work – Drapery Assistant in Sheffield.
Reasons for joining: Preferred to join the WLA rather than work in a munition’s factory in Sheffield.
Family’s reaction to joining: Happy for me to go and also joining sister who was in the Land Army / Timber Corps section.
Best and worst memories of time: Best – Enjoyed the work, social life and companionship.Weather – No bother. Worst – Muck spreading.
Reasons for leaving: Accident involving grinder.
Any outstanding events or achievements in WLA / WTC or in later life: Met with other Ex Land Girls in Sheffield until late 1990’s. Went to unveiling of Land Army War Memorial with family October 2014.
6 weeks training, based at Stowmarket, Suffolk.
Worked for County War Agricultural Committee, based at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk. Undertook mainly dairy work on farm. Had a machinery accident involving a grinder.
Worked with Joyce Wassell from Rotherham. Opportunities to meet Land Girls at work, on the farm and socially in the hostel.
Best jobs – Milking and working with the horses. Worst jobs – Muck spreading and hedging work.
Local people suspicious at first, but then fine. No problems.
Enjoyed the work and surroundings. Met husband – based at RAF Woodbridge nearby.
When at Stowmarket, training based in wooden huts.
When in Sutton Hoo – House and sharing bedroom with others
Life after the war
Returned to shop work in Sheffield.
How did work in the WLA / WTC effect your/ their life? Gave independence being away from home and also met husband.
Mary had good experiences of her time spent in the Land Army, and we enjoy hearing about them and also her sister’s experiences as a Lumber Jill. It is only in recent years we have got to know so much more about their work during the war. Both Mary and her sister have supported the recent work of the Land Army and so pleased the lovely memorial has now been established at the N.M.A.
Name: Ailsa Whalley
Relationship to Land Girl: Daughter-in-law