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15 October 2014
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Hard work, but cheerful in the Land Army

by salisburysouthwilts

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Contributed by 
salisburysouthwilts
People in story: 
Mavis
Location of story: 
Leicestershire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A5857202
Contributed on: 
22 September 2005

Before the war I worked in a factory in the Midlands. I joined the Land Army and was sent to Leicestershire — you had to go where you were sent. It was very, very hard work. There were 40 girls in the hostel so I wasn’t lonely, we all worked very hard but it was very friendly. I am still friends with one of the girls. She still rings me up every week — she says that’s where we got rheumatism from! From all the frost — we never had gloves or anything but you got hardened to it.

We used to be farmed out to different farms. I think I’ve done everything on a farm! At some farms we would have to get the cows in, at another we would get the crops in. I had never had any experience — you were just thrown in at the deep end! Sometimes you would be at the top of the hay rick loading the hay. It was jolly hard work but I loved every minute. I think my favourite job was potato picking. We used to do it in a big line. We used to have to pull all the weeds out by hand. We also had to collect the eggs and sometimes the chickens would lay them at the top of the hay rick!

At the hostel, different troops used to come in for a rest, I think. That’s where I met my husband. He was posted to France on the 2nd day of the D Day landings and then went into the Ardennes, it helped me to be working hard but I missed him dreadfully although it was a good life. It was healthy, we had good food and we had bicycles and used them to get around all the farms sometimes we cycled 5 or 6 miles to get there.

Next door to the hostel was the Village Hall where we used to have dances. We had some jolly good times there. That was where I learned to dance. I don’t know where we got the energy from! We used to have a very strict warden at the hostel and when we walked home from the dances she would go to the end of the drive and say “ Come along girls!” I thoroughly enjoyed my time. Some of the village people came in to help on the farms but sometimes I was left in the middle of a field hoeing all on my own! That was the downside.

Once I had to drive the tractor but the farmer never trusted me to do it again! I had gumboots on and my foot slipped. I was heading right at a dewpond so he had to jump on. I think he was swearing at me because I had never heard the words before!

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