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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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A Good Enough Reason...: Handing Out Ration Books and Service in the Land Army

by PotteriesMuseum

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Mary Laird
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
30 June 2004

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries on behalf of Mary Laird and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

I left school in July 1940 when I was 15. I went to work in the Food Office in Stoke Town Hall, issuing ration books. I was asked to go on the desk and had one exciting moment when I was going home for lunch when a policeman stopped me. Just as I stood there the Duke of Kent walked by - he was the glamour boy of the Royal Family. I got a lovely smile. He was killed five weeks later in a plane crash.
We had to stay late to issue ration books and if the sirens went off we went into the shelters. We came out abouot 11.00pm to go home. The friend who I walked part way home with had her house hit by a direct bomb in Shelton and her family killed. Next morning we all turned up for work but were sent home to collect clothes we could spare for this girl.
When I was 16 I had to go to Brighton to look after my sister. When I was 17 I had to enrol. I had volunteered for the WRAF; I didn't want the ATS because I didn't want the khaki knickers - a good reason not to join! The RAF had blue!
You enrolled at 17 and was called up at 171/2. A friend suggested the Land Army and I said no because I was terrified of cows; but we went in. My first job was with a threshing box. My friend stuck it for two weeks then went in the navy which she said was easier. I stuck the Land Army for three years. I did enjoy it once I got used to the cows.
I was at Lea Hall at Eccleshall. I went to work on a farm about three miles from the hostel. I was asked to live in at the White Farm. I had learnt to milk - it was all hand milking then. But then they had a milking machine put in. The previous farm I had learnt to milk at. While I was struggling (my arms were killing me!) a young man arrived from Scotland to be the manager. Couldn't stand him at first, but I ended up marrying him. He died two years ago after 55 years of marriage.

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Land Army Category
Rationing Category
Stoke and Staffordshire Category
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