The Women’s Land Army in First World War Britain

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Every task that Beatrice did in her training was muddy. But this was all taken in good spirits. In addition to those breeches, recruits were provided with a uniform of boots, gaiters and overalls.

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Putting women into male jobs was one thing, seeing them in trousers was quite another. Wearing breeches might be practical, but was it respectable? In August a survey of 12, WLA members recorded their principal occupations: 5, were milkers, 3, field workers, carters, tractor drivers, ploughmen, 84 thatchers, 21 shepherds, with the remaining 1, being in mixed roles. Rosa Freedman began her service in the WLA going from farm-to-farm as part of a threshing gang, but soon, like most members, found herself doing a bit of everything.

Land girls: disquiet on the home front

Rosa recalled fruit picking, flax pulling, haymaking, cleaning out pigsties, cow pens and stables, muck-spreading and mincing mangelwurzels for cow feed. And they were expected to do their best. As they faced long hours of heavy work, financial hardship and few comforts, the WLA constantly reminded its members that their contribution was vital to the war effort. Rowland Prothero told a Land Army rally:. Many young men left work on the farms to join the services or obtain better paying jobs in the defense industry.

Women's Land Army

The shift of men away from agriculture left a void on the farms, which the government had a difficult time filling. Ida H.

Many of those in attendance were current and former students of Barnard College. In total, women attended the camp for four months, which provided lectures, training, and hands-on experience on local farms.

Fighting in the Fields: The Land Girls at Brighton Museum

Women who enrolled in programs, such as those created at Barnard College, paid a fee for their training. The cost involved in attending meant that middle and upper class women made up the majority of those enrolled in courses.

Working class women could little afford to pay for such training. However, some working class women temporarily joined in agricultural work during harvest periods.

How Land Girls helped feed Britain to victory in WW1 - BBC News

To begin this blog, I am going to set the scene and ask a few hypothetical questions. Imagine it is the height of summer, The Great War has been raging for almost three years, and there is still no end in sight.

Farming and the First World War: Women's Land Army

In addition to the rising death-toll from the fighting fronts, food shortages on the home front have significantly increased. The Government has issued a series of posters and leaflets asking women to volunteer on the land see Figure 1.

3 thoughts on “International Women's Day: The Women's Land Army”

Would you be willing to work long hours on a farm to help produce food for the nation? Would you consider it your patriotic duty? Over the course of the Great War, thousands of women across Britain took on job roles traditionally assigned to men, as the latter enlisted. In , the passing of the Military Service Act made it compulsory for every British man aged 18 to 41 amended to 51 in who was unmarried; a childless widower, or outside of protected employment, to sign up.

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