When Grandma Wore Breeches

With the country at war and all able-bodied men needed to fight against the forces of Germany, there was a shortage of labour to work on farms and in other key 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 home grown food. It was the Women’s Land Army that provided much of the labour force to work this land and feed our nation.

The advertising slogan read, ‘For a healthy, happy job join The 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. 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 ploughs, and to harvest crops by hand.

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