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15 October 2014
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by aleximpreza

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Archive List > Land Army

Contributed by 
aleximpreza
People in story: 
Barbara Townsend (formerly Barbara Bulley)
Location of story: 
Oxfordshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A6005170
Contributed on: 
03 October 2005

WWII 1939-1945
Name- Barbara Townsend (Nee Bulley)

At the outbreak of WWII, I was working in Early’s blanket factory, Witney, Oxford, makers of the famous Witney blankets.
However, the land army life appealed to me, the out-door life as apposed to being confined to factory-life, so in 1942 I applied to the necessary quarters and was successful.
Luckily for me, I was employed by a farmer in the village where I lived, so was able to still live with my parents. I learned to milk cows after fetching them in from the fields with another land-girl, then came cooling the milk in the dairy and putting the full churns out for the milk lorry to take them on, to be bottled.
After this was finished our dairy had to be swilled with water to cleanse it. The next job was mucking out the cow sheds, putting fresh straw bedding down.
Milking started at 6 o’clock mornings and 3.15 afternoons. One or two cows had to have a span on there back legs because they kicked when they were being milked.
Summer brought hay-making, up on the ricks helping to build them.
Autumn was harvest time, so different to now, with the ‘binders’ going round the fields cutting the corn, tying it into sheaves. The land-girls job was to stook them up to form what was known as stooks. Four or five sheaves leaning against each other with the heads of corn pointing up-wards so they kept reasonably dry should there be some rain, then gathered and made into corn ricks.
Winter to spring, I was in the fields of swedes and turnips and sugar beet hoeing. Later on when they had grown, it was land-girls job to help the men-folk pull them from the ground and put them in heaps to be covered later with earth, to preserve them for feeding the cattle through the winter. Sugar beet was sent to the factory to make sugar. I remember there being a factory at Eynsham, Oxfordshire.
The weather was always very wet and windy, or freezing cold. Sometimes the farmers wife would ask for my help to mow several lawns or plant cabbage plants or weed and dig the garden situated at the rear of the farm house, or maybe pluck a cockerel or a goose.
I was in the land army for three and a half years and was very happy.
Then I left to get married in 1945

From Mrs Barbara Townsend

10 Witney Lane
Leafield
Witney
Oxford
OX29 5PJ
Aged 86 yrs

Former name and address-

Miss Barbara Bulley
Level Crossing
Little Farringdon
Lechlade
Gloucestershire

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