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The Women's Land Army
Photo: woman driving two horses pulling an agricultural rake With the country at war and all able-bodied men needed to fight, there was a shortage of labour to work on farms and in other jobs on the land. At the same time it was becoming increasingly difficult to get food imported from abroad, so more land needed to be farmed to provide homegrown food. The Women's Land Army provided much of the labour force to work this land.

The advertising slogan read, 'For a healthy, happy job join The Women's Land Army'. In reality, the work was hard and dirty and the hours were long. Some of the girls received training before they were sent to farms; the farmers themselves trained others. The Timber Corps was set up to teach women to make pit props, necessary for working in mines, which then had to be loaded onto lorries and transported to the mining areas.

Photo copyright IWM neg HU63823
The girls of the land army looked after animals, ploughed the fields, dug up potatoes, harvested the crops, killed the rats, dug and hoed for 48 hours a week in the winter and 50 hours a week in the summer. As there was not enough machinery to go round they often had to work with old fashioned equipment, such as horse drawn hand ploughs, and to harvest crops by hand.

Of course, all this heavy, outdoor work made them very hungry. One advantage was that extra rations were allocated to farm workers to give them the energy they needed to farm the land.

Photo: Members of the Timber Corps sawing pit props
About the land army, including the first hand experiences of a land girl.
Members of the Timber Corps sawing pit props. Copyright IWM neg D14101
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