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15 October 2014
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A Land Girl's Lot: In Nottinghamshireicon for Recommended story

by ambervalley

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Doris Una Ball (nee Palmer)
Location of story: 
A farm in Nottinghamshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
17 June 2004

When World War II beagn in 1939 young men and women at the age of 17 years were called into the Armed Forces. Miners and farm workers were exempt from the call up, although this group did volunteer. An alternative to the Forces was to work in a munitions factory. I chose to join 'The Women's Land Army'.

This army of young women valiantly took the place of absent men from farms, horticulture and forestry; they came from all walks of life.

So on 6th March 1944, I became an enrolled member of the W.L>A and was scheduled to work in Dairy and Arable farming, which was my choice. My uniform duly arrived at my home. It consisted of:

One dark beige knee length wool overcoat
Beige felt hat with badge
Beige vortex working shirts
One light beige cotton dress shirt
Two green wool v-necked jumpers
Two pairs of khaki knee breeches
Three pairs beige Knee-high wool socks
Two cotton twill dungarees
Two long sleeved cotton twill overalls with detachable buttons
One pair of wellington with a thick tread
One pair of very stiff leather ankle boots
Pne pair very hard heavy leather walking shoes with steel caps
One green tie and green arm band with a red crown embroided on it.

I was sent to work to a farm in Nottinghamshire along with two other land girls. An appointed representive was to supervise our progress periodically; we could contact her anytime with any problems.

Two brothers owned the farm, also the adjacent farm. They were also haulage contractors and lived some six miles away, near to their haulage business. A farm manager ran the two farms and lived in the main farmhouse; he was a jovial Scotsman with a young family. He had farmed in Britain and Australia and under his direction the land girls were taught their daily tasks.

I lived in with the family mostly, cycling home whenever possible. The other two girls lived in the villasge. The farnhouse was bleak and cold. Heating came from the large coal fired black iron cooking range in the kitchen, which was let out at night and a fire put in the sitting room. Often there was a new-born suckling piglet in a box in the kitchen, which needed a little nurturing.

The hours were long and arduous beginning at 6.00 am, tumbling out of bed at 5.30 am in the Winter shivering with cold. I'd hurriedly struggle into khaki knee breeches, jumper and wellington boots and splash my face from the cold water tap in the kitchen. Then race outside to the bucket lavatory with a board over it with a hole in it. The farm manager brewed tea and after quickly gulping it down it was then outside, whatever the weather to begin the day's work.

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