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15 October 2014
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RECOLLECTION OF LIFE IN THE LAND ARMY

by Action Desk, BBC Radio Suffolk

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Contributed by 
Action Desk, BBC Radio Suffolk
People in story: 
JEAN BRADNUM
Location of story: 
DERBYSHIRE
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A7594905
Contributed on: 
07 December 2005

I CAME FROM DERYSHIRE WHEN I WAS EIGHTEEN, I LEFT SCHOOL AND CAME STRAIGHT DOWN HERE, THAT WAS 1946. GOT OFF THE TRAIN AT BURY, THERE WAS A BIG LORRY TO MEET US, THERE WAS SEVERAL OTHER GIRLS WITH ME, DIDN'T KNOW ANY OF THEM.WE WERE TAKEN TO SHIMPLING, WHICH IS QUITE NEAR HERE. THERE WAS A HOSTEL THERE ON SIR JOHN RICHMANS ESTATE, AND THE FIRST THING I SAW WHEN I GET OFF THE LORRY WAS BULL TETHERED UP AT THE GATE AND THATS WHEN I THOUGHT "WHAT HAVE I LET MYSELF IN FOR?" I WAS PERTRIFIED OF COWS. I CAME FROM A MINING VILLAGE BUT DURING THE WAR WE WERE ALLOWED , WELL WE WERE ASKED (THE SIXTH FORM) TO GO INTO LINCOLNSHIRE AND HELP WITH THE POTATO HARVEST AT THE END OF THE SUMMER TERM. THAT'S WHERE I GOT MY LOVE OF THE LAND FROM,YOU SEE. I WANTED TO BE A TEACHER BUT I SUDDENLY JOINED THE LAND ARMY AND THAT WAS IT.
THEN BECAUSE I WAS SO AFFRAID OF COWS I THOUGHT I'D GO INTO MILKING TO GET OVER THAT.THERE WAS A CHOICE, YOU COULD DO LAND WORK, YOU COULD DO FORESTRY, I DON'T KNOW ABOUT ROUND HERE BUT THAT'S WHAT THE LAND ARMY DID DO.OR YOU COULD BE A MILKER ,WE WERE GIVEN A LOT OF PRIVILEGE BEING A MILKER, EVERYBODY HAD TO BE QUITE FOR US BECAUSE WE GOT UP EARLY IN THE MORNING. I CAN'T REALLY REMEMBER WHAT TIME, BUT OBVIOUSLY WE STARTED ABOUT 6.30, WHICH WAS EARLY FOR ME, STILL IS ACTUALLY!
WE HAD TO LEARN HAND MILKING TO START WITH, WHICH WAS AMASING BECAUSE YOU SAT AT A COW ON TO THREE LEGGED STOOL, YOU DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THE COW WAS GOING TO DO TO YOU ANYWAY AND YOU PULLED ON THESE TREATS AND NOT A DROP CAME FROM THEM "COS THEY KNEW YOU WERE STRANGE". YOU HAD TO LEARN HOW TO DO IT PROPERLY AND THEN YOU'D GEY IT FLOWING INTO THE PAIL. ONE DAY THE COW STUCK IT'S FOOT IN IT AND RUINED ALL MY GOOD WORK! IT ALL WENT DOWN THE DRAIN. I WAS THERE AT SHIMPLING FOR EIGHT WEEKS TRAINING, HALF DOING HAND MILKING AND THEN WE WERE PUT ONTO MACHINE MILKING, THET WAS INTERESTING TOO. THEN WE COULD CHOOSE WHERE WE WANTED TO GO THEN. I WANTED TO GO SOMEWHERE ROUND HERE, I HAD TWO GIRLS WHICH I DIDN'T LIKE VERY MUCH,FINALLY CAME TO HARTEST AND NEVER WENT BACK HOME, MARRIED AND STAYED HERE EVER SINCE.
WE LIVED IN A HOSTEL,I SHOULD IMAGINE THERE WAS ABOUT THIRTY OF US, ALL IN ONE ROOM WITH BUNK BEDS, WE WEREN'T ALL MILKERS. THE MOST I EVER EARNT WAS ABOUT £2 A WEEK, WE WORKED EVERY DAY TO START WITH. THE FIRST FARM I WENT TO WHICH I DIDN'T REALLY WANT TO STAY AT WAS GT.BRADLEY, WE HAD VERY NICE LODGINGS THERE. THEY HAD 300 HEFFER STOCK, HEFFERS, CALVES, CATTLE AND THERE WASN'T A TAP ON THE PLACE. WE HAD TO WIND EVERY PAIL OF WATER UP FROM THE WELL, WHEN YOU'VE TAKEN TWO PAILS TO WATER THROUGH BY THE TIME YOU'VE GONE BACK AND FETCHED SOME MORE THERES NONE LEFT. WE WERE PRACTICALLY ALL DAY DOING THIS, WE HAD TO HAND MILK THERE AT THET PARTICULAR FARM. THE COWMAN WAS A YORKSHIRE MAN BUT I THINK HE DIDN'T LIKE ME VERY MUCH "COS HE SENT ME INTO THE BULL PEN" (IT WASN'T EVEN TETHERED UP) BY MYSELF, TO GROOM THE BULL. I DIDN'T THINK MUCH TO THAT SO I THOUGHT TO "I'M NOT STOPPING HERE"

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