Back to the Land, we must all lend a hand,
To the farms and the fields we must go,
There's a job to be done,
Though we can't fire a gun,
We can still do our bit with the hoe.
The Women's Land Army was first established at the beginning of 1917. It was hoped that their assistance would help to increase food production in Britain and lead to less reliance on imports. With war looking more and more likely plans to re-establish the WLA began in 1938 and it was reformed in June 1939, three months before Britain declared war on Germany. It wasn't disbanded again until 1950.
At first it women could choose to voluneer, but in 1941 conscription for women was introduced for the very first time. Many of those who joined were from cities such as London were unprepared for the hardwork and long hours farming requires. By 1943 the number of 'land girls' reached its peak at over 80,000!
Women were employed in many different jobs. Around a quarter worked in dairy production. Other jobs included that of anti-vermin control to kill badgers, foxes, rabbits and rats! In 1942 the Timber Corps was formed to help source and prepare wood. Around 6,000 women became 'Lumber Jills'.
You can find out more here:
BBC Archive of World War Two Memories
BBC Photo Gallery: Land Army
On the 15th November 1944 the Secretary of State for Air was asked several questions, one of which was from Mr Astor as to whether WAAFs would be allowed to wear silk stockings off duty, a privilege already given to the ATS and WRNS.
An adventure loving historian with a soft spot for armour and motorbikes.