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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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My Experiences In The Land Army

by WRVSpeopleswar

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Iris Schofield (nee Russell)
Location of story: 
East Sussex
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
20 September 2005

I spent my Childhood living on a farm. I helped with the animals long before I left school.
The war began and I had never been away from home so when I joined the Land Army on the dairy farming side I had to move into lodgings.

My day started at 5.30am with a mile and a half cycle ride to work. The cows had to be washed down first, all cold water! In the winter when the cows were kept in the sheds over night I would open the doors in the morning and I remember it was like central heating coming out.

I had until 8am every morning to hand-milk 15 to 20 cows and then cool and churn the milk. After that was done every morning, the cow sheds and the dairy had to be scrubbed clean ready for the next day. This lasted for about a year before the farmer began to use Italian prisoners of war to do these jobs!

There was another farm further along the road, it was a small farm so I helped with the hay making and harvesting as well as the dairy side. It was harder in the winter because the kale had to be cut with frost and icicles hanging from it. It really was very very cold and we had to pull the Swedes up by hand and cut them as part of the winter feed for the cows. Other winter tasks were ditching, Hedging and threshing!
Long long days in the summer spent haymaking and harvesting until dark. Luckily, although it was hard work, the outdoor was something I always felt happier with.

A large dairy farm offered me a job I had always hoped for, working with pedigree Jersey cows. This was very different from the other farms because we did breeding and showing. The milk marketing board came down regularly and took a sample of milk from each cow, who, of course, were all named and we had to record the amount of milk each cow gave.
When we were showing we worked late into the night, sandpapering the horns, shampooing and clipping.
I had to give up too soon due to Ill health, I had to have an operation and couldn’t return.

I don’t know where people get the idea that the land girls had an easy time,I missed out there if they did! It was long hours and hard work.

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