‘No-one knew we existed at WW2 parade’By Mike Pyle
March 25, 2009
Former land girls and lumber jills gathered at a ceremony to recognise their war efforts.
Women in their eighties and nineties met at the Berkshire College of Agriculture near Maidenhead on Friday for a reception organised by Mary Bayliss, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire.
The women served in the Women’s Land Army and the Women’s Timber Corps and were known as land girls and lumber jills during World War Two - more than 60 years ago.
They were enlisted to work on farms to make sure there was enough food and wood.
Mrs Bayliss said: “It’s a pleasure to give these people a lovely, happy afternoon.
“It’s high time we recognised their contribution to feeding the nation and it’s nice to see them looking so fit and healthy.
“They did a fantastic job. We don’t know what it’s like to have no food these days and they tried to make sure that during the country’s hours of need there was food to go around.
“I’m so pleased that they’ve all got the recognition they deserve.”
Joyce Carter, 87, from Sandhurst, tended fields and green spaces around Hounslow and Harrow in London.
She said: “It’s very exciting to be here and it’s nice to get some recognition.”
Many land girls felt their war efforts went unrecognised but last year the 30,000 surviving women from the once 80,000-strong force were invited to apply for a commemorative badge.
Twelve women from Bracknell Forest who applied for a badge attended the reception.
Pauline Toft, 86, of Jubilee Court in Bracknell, added: “I looked after several cows and two bulls, all by myself, seven days a week – it was hard work!
“But we were never recognised. During the victory parade we had to stand behind the girl guides, no one ever knew we existed.”
Eleanor Daborn, 80, of Forest Road, Warfield, who worked on former Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s farm in Hindhead, added: “There can’t be many of us left.”
Bob and Sigi Edger, mayor and mayoress of Bracknell Forest, were among the guests.
Councillor Edger said: “If it wasn’t for them this country would have been extremely poor – we owe them, a debt of gratitude.”