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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Land Army Girl and ATS

by Lancshomeguard

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Marjorie Knight
Location of story: 
England and Europe
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
16 May 2005

This story has been added to the People’s War site by Anne Wareing on behalf of Marjorie Knight and has been added to the site wit her permission…

Before the war I worked in Blackburn for a firm called Lomax Bros. The day after war was declared on arriving at work we were told that we would be going on short time, just to see how things would be turning out, as the firm made jacquard harnesses for the cotton mills. When I got home after work my parents were against my wish to join the forces and as there was a cotton mill in Mellor, they suggested I went in the mill and learned to weave.

After 18 months I went and got my name down for the Land Army, as I wanted a go at gardening. I had to wait a few weeks, before being sent to Sefton Park, Liverpool. After being there about six months my mother began to get very anxious about me in Liverpool, as the air raids in Liverpool and Manchester could be seen from Mellor. So I left Sefton Park and came home for a few weeks, before being sent to a private house just outside Shrewbury. After nine weeks there, the winter was getting colder and there was not a great deal for me to do. So as I was no longer needed, I moved to Shifnal in Shropshire, where I stayed for a year.

However I didn’t feel I was doing a great deal for the war effort and the officials wouldn’t send me anywhere else, so I left the Land Army and joined the ATS and trained as a cook. My first assignment was to Bournemouth, where I was sent out to Sandbanks. Sandbanks Hotel was the Southern Command Vehicle Maintenance School. After D Day the hotel had served its purpose, the school was disbanded and I found myself back in Shrewsbury in a private house with about twenty other ATS, mostly working in the office.

After working there for about six months I volunteered for overseas. A few weeks went by then I had to report to a command in London with about thirty others and we went to Eastbourne, just long enough for us to get embarkation leave, then off we went to France. We were told before we left England that our final destination was Berlin.

We were in Versaille when the war finally ended and we had to wait for the end of the Potsdam Conference before we could get to our final destination. Germany was divided into sections, as well as Berlin. On our final journey by road we were held up for two hours at the Russian border, as they had never seen ATS before.

We finally entered the British section of Berlin by the Brandenburg Gate. Our billets were much better than we expected, as we were in the flat that had belonged to the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. But the conditions for the German people were not so pleasant. I was in Berlin for twelve months before being de-mobbed in July 1946.

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Land Army Category
Auxiliary Territorial Service Category
Lancashire Category
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