My Sister was a Land Army Girl.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'My Sister was a Land Army Girl.' page

Let us not forget this Army

By Alan Curtis

When World War 2 started, the Country became short of between 30,000 to 40,000 men. Those were the jobs that were necessary, if we were to survive the hard times to come. Over the following five years the shortages became difficult for the farmers. Without the men who were either called up to serve their country, or were volunteers, food became a major problem for everyone. Imports of food came to almost a standstill and the Government had a headache,and some deep thinking had to be done. The Government did get their act together, and so it was that the Womens Land Army was introduced...

The people of Mansfield did not shirk their duties to do what was required  to do there bit...Mansfield, indeed the whole Country were called to arms. This brought about an obvious shortage of manpower, and if we were to survive the threat that hung over us, and if nothing was done about the food situation, it would be disastrous for the people of our proud country, and many people did go hungry...

As many of the older generation may remember watching on Television, " Sam "  and " Family at War "..That is how it was , and could well have been about any family on our street...

We were just one family at War..This is the effect the war had for the Curtis family...

My Father who in 1910 was a Lance / Sergeant in the barracks at Preston, and was probably too old at 55 when war broke out...Nevertheless he worked for the London  Midland and Scottish Railway  Company who helped to transport everything connected with the war from one place to another, including the Troops.

My Mother worked in the Munitions Factory at Nottingham..

My sister Alice became a Nurse...Her husband Reginald Atkins was in the Royal Artillery, I believe it was the Ack Ack..He came back from Libya wounded.

My sister Ina was a Land Army Girl..

My brother Barry was in the Royal Engineers, serving in Palestine . and before he was old enough to go into the Army, he too worked at the Munitions Factory driving what was called a Scammell. A kind of vehicle that pulled train type trailers loaded with all kinds of ammunition...

My sister Eileen was too young to go into the forces, her husband Jack was a soldier in the Sherwood Foresters.

And I was a soldier in the Royal Artillery serving in the Middle East, in Egypt and Cyprus..

I have to say that working as a Land Army Girl was no picnic.. There was no training before you arrived, it was a "Hands On Job" with the farmer showing you what to do, and expecting you to do it.

The kind of work the Land Army girls had to do was hard work for them,much the kind of work they had never done before. Ploughing with old machinery that was horse drawn. Milking. Setting. Planting. Potato Picking. and when that old Tractor came round again, you had to have cleared your stint..Nothing was left to waste..  Sawing and chopping logs, some of the sawing they had to do was the sawing of tree trunks for Pit Props...Looking after the sheep, where many of the flocks of sheep were put out to graze on the local Golf Course, otherwise the course would have been ordered to be ploughed up... All the manual work required on the farm had to be done whether it be Pigs, cows, chickens, geese, ducks, or whatever...Land Girls also had to be mechanics  to keep the old Tractors going...Preference was also given to farms with the special supply of fuel for the Farm Vehicles, the petrol for these vehicles was pink in colour...

My sister , when joining, was transported to Warwickshire, where some of her friends too were posted.I recall her telling of the work she had to do on the farm, and the long daylight hours she had to be in the fields.It was at that time the Government brought in " Double Summertime " to help the farmers make the most of the daylight hours..

When my sister completed her work as a Land Army Girl, she came home , complete with the Land Army uniform....Guess who made the most of the warm corduroy  trousers and warm green jumper in the cold winter...

This page was added on 23/09/2013.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.