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15 October 2014
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Threshing, Dating and VE Day

by Doreensouthside

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Location of story: 
Belford, Warenford and Stamfordham, Northumberland
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Contributed on: 
22 August 2005

Belford grain dryer wanted help, so some of the Stamfordham girls went to help
them, me included. It was a big place with tons of grain. It was quite heavy work so some of the girls went to the recruitment centre in Stamfordham hostel for different jobs. There were quite a few people worked there,though, and it was enjoyable. We stayed in a hostel in Warenford. Miss Rodham was the warden there. She was our warden in Stamfordham and was in the Land Army before my time. We had a nice time at the hostel and I remember we used to get butter rations. I used to try to keep some of mine to bring home to my family but by the time I got home sometimes there was more grease than butter, but it helped. During our time off, we used to go down to the coast, which was very enjoyable.
I came back to Stamfordham after a while, but the war was not over and we still worked hard. When we threshed barley it was horrendous, because the barley chaff used to get everywhere. It was terrible stuff when it got stuck into your green jumper. It took ages to get out. It was in your hair, clothes, everywhere and we used to look like scarecrows when we came home from work. (We were much tidier during the winter work!).
One day I came back from the hostel after threshing. I was a right sight: boots on, overalls and headscarf - and filthy, looking like a scarecrow, because we had been threshing, and I had a visit from a handsome sailor! I can’t remember his name now, but he had been my pen pal for a long time. I nearly died when I saw him; I was such a sight. He was in Newcastle with his ship. He must have thought I wasn’t so bad, after I had had a bath and a brush down, because he took me on a few dates until his ship left Newcastle.

VE day was great — for us it meant that the war was over. When we heard about it, of course, we could go home. After that we went to the town and had a lovely time celebrating. We sang, danced and everyone was in a great mood. We had a party in our street with cakes, sandwiches, trifles - you name it! The real pleasure was getting home to the family. Father was home, everyone was back safely and, very importantly, we were back in our own beds. Although we had had to work hard, we had had some lovely times — wonderful, if it hadn’t been for the war!

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