This book tells for the first time of the life-changing experiences of hundreds of young women who joined the Women's Land Army in the 1940s and worked on Bedfordshire's farms and market gardens. Their role was to take the place of men who went to fight in the Second World War and help farmers feed the nation. Their work was physically hard, their hours long and adjusting to life in the country was challenging.
Most were unmarried, in their late teens and away from home for the first time. Many of them were from towns and cities. Most had worked in shops, offices, mills, factories or in domestic service. Some were placed on isolated farms with little support. Others worked in gangs and lived in hostels - requisitioned houses or purpose-built huts - and enjoyed a better social life. They took on every task. All of them stood out in the villages and countryside in their distinctive uniform of green sweaters and brown breeches.
This book tells not only the story of the organisation - how it was set up and run - but also the stories of the women themselves, how they coped - the highs, the lows, amusing episodes and some sadness. It is a story of commitment, determination and eventual success. They came from all over the country and many of them found themselves, at the end of the war, marrying local men and spending the rest of their lives in Bedfordshire. Others worked on after the war in a period of post-war austerity.
Based on extensive research and on numerous interviews with former land girls, the book takes us back to the days of wartime activity, of military airfields and of the presence of American Gls. It was the period when the County War Agricultural Executive Committee directed farmers to greatly increase food productivity and working with horses began to give way to using tractors and the first combine harvesters.
A definitive alphabetical list of almost 3,500 maiden names will enable family historians to find if their forbears served as land girls in Bedfordshire between 1939 and 1950. The book is fully indexed and generously illustrated with period photographs.
Book contains black and white photographs and is signed by the author.
Pages are in fine condition, cover is in very good condition
Cover corners and edges are a little worn