From Factory to Farm – one Land Girl’s story.
The ‘land girls’ have been described as the forgotten veterans of the Second World War. These women, members of the Women’s Land Army, were recruited to help increase the amount of food grown in war time Britain.
The Women’s Land Army was first created during the First World War, and then re-established shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, in June 1939. It was disbanded again in 1950.
At its peak in 1943 over 80,000 women from all backgrounds were ‘land girls’. (Imperial War Museum, 2013)
I am going to interview Dorothy, aged 82, who was a land girl in 1948 aged 17 (despite the minimum age for joining up being 17 and a half). She left her family and her job in a mill in urban Yorkshire to be part of the Women’s Land Army in rural East Suffolk.
I am interested in the history of women during the Second World War and the period of austerity which followed – specifically the employment opportunities afforded to women as a result of the war, the ways in which it also presented a chance for some women to leave the constraints (social and financial) of their parents and gender relationships in the aftermath of war.
I hope that my interview with Dorothy will give me an opportunity to explore these themes. In addition, as the number of land girls alive today diminishes all the time, I believe it is important to record and give a voice to their experiences.