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15 October 2014
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Land Army Memories Hazel & Doris

by suttonhoo

Contributed by 
suttonhoo
People in story: 
Hazel Tuffs and Doris Cater
Location of story: 
Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A3300238
Contributed on: 
19 November 2004

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Nancy Waterfall, Learning Officer at the National Trust at Sutton Hoo on behalf of Doris Cater and Hazel Tuffs and has been added to the site with their permission. The authors fully understand the site’s terms and conditions.

We went to the same school, but then only met up again as Land Army girls up at Sutton Hoo. The warden at the time was Mrs Miles, who was strict but fair. When we went out, we had arm badges with triangles sewn to them to wear on top of our jerseys or topcoats. Initially they were green, but after four year’s service, they were changed for red ones. We received three sets of dungarees — one on, one off, and one in the wash.

Mrs Tuffs: I used to work in the Eastern Counties Co-op, but did not enjoy working in an office. My sister joined the army, but I did not fancy that so joined the Land Army. I drove the tractor, after I had gone on a course at Letchworth, and made a set of notes on tractor maintenance, for which I gained a proficiency badge. At Sutton Hoo, my bedroom, which I shared with 7 others, was on the top floor. We paid £1—2s-6d for board, so were left with 7/6d for ourselves. If there were dirty jobs, such as thrashing, we received 1/-d per day extra. At the end of the war I drove a tractor at the head of the victory parade in Ipswich and after that I went to London and drove another one in the procession there. I am very proud of that.

Mrs Cater: I shared a room high up in the corner with Eileen Jones. At Sutton Hoo, I worked with Charlie and the horses. There was Tiny, a large chestnut, Mary, who was about 30 years old, and two other horses. They were all Suffolk punches. If necessary because there were no other girls available, I would have to get up and milk. Then after breakfast I used to get the horse and cart and carry on with my own jobs, one of which involved pulling bracken prior to planting white skinned potatoes. .

On a couple of occasions we were aware that boys who had escaped from Borstal down at Hollesley were in the area. Once we saw a man searching, who turned out to be a policeman, and on another occasion, once we had lifted the thatch off the top of a stack, Charlie said “We’ve had visitors” and there was evidence that boys had been hiding in the stack.

The food we got in the Land Army was adequate, but we got so hungry we would eat anything. What they called “banana “ sandwiches were in fact mashed parsnip with banana flavouring.

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