Land Girls and Lumber Jills commended

Ploughing match on South Downs near Clayton. Image courtesy of Stuart Olsson. The Women’s Land Army, colloquially known as the Land Girls, worked on farms to feed the nation, as the male workers went to war. At its peak in 1943 there were some 80,000 women working on the land, and it was continued after the war, finally being disbanded in 1950.

With their uniform of green ties and jumpers and brown felt slouch hats, they worked from dawn to dusk each day, milking cows, digging ditches, sowing seeds and harvesting crops. They supplied the nation with food, supporting the war effort and avoiding food shortages.

The Women’s Timber Corps, also known as the ‘Lumber Jills’ worked tirelessly in the forests to provide timber for the war effort felling trees, sawing timber and sharpening saws. 

Paid In Full

Long ago when we were young and wrinkles never crossed our mind
Fast greying hair and walking canes were something we had yet to find
Our country called, and we replied, we girls naïve but full of fight
To work each day in heat and cold and rest our weary limbs at night.

Our world was filled with uniforms, some smart and some a cause for mirth
Like actors in a mammoth play, it was the greatest show on earth.

Land Girls. Image courtesy of Stuart Olsson.

We laboured hard from dawn till dusk, chickens – animals – crops and trees
Hedging – ditching – killing rats, and other pleasures such as these,
Each land girl brought to every task her own unique ability;
Those hectic moments in our lives remembered in tranquillity.

We keep the faith our little band for those we loved and those we lost.
In life’s accounting debts are owed but who will ever know the cost?

On this our own Remembrance Day we make again a quantum leap
Back to those memorable days that safe within our hearts we keep.

Time changes all: all change in time, but young no more we stay the same
Still land girls underneath the skin, still proud to bear our special name.

Hilda Kaye Gibson

The Government today announced they will recognise the selfless efforts of these thousands of women who worked on the Home Front to provide food and timber during World War II.

The surviving members of the Women’s Land Army and the Women’s Timber Corps will be presented with a specially designed badge commemorating their service and acknowledging the debt that the country owes to them.

Secretary of State for Environment, Hilary Benn will present the badges to the first group of recipients at a ceremony to be held next year. 

Mr Benn said:

Land Girls. Image courtesy of Stuart Olsson.“The Women’s Land Army and Women’s Timber Corps made a vital contribution to this country during the second world war. Supplying the nation with food and timber during the dark days of war was no easy task. These women worked tirelessly for the benefit of their nation. Their selfless service to the country deserves the recognition that this badge will represent. I look forward to meeting some of the veterans and presenting them with their badges.”

Welcoming the announcement, former Land Girl, Mildred Bowden said:

“I would like to say a very big thank you to the MPs of today who have taken the time to recognise the valuable work the Women’s Land Army did in the 2nd World War.”

Also commenting on the news, wartime Land Girl, Hilda Gibson said:

“To serve one’s country in its greatest hour of need, in whatever capacity, for me remains memorable. To receive an award honouring the wartime work of the Women’s Land Army is a powerful and touching recognition.”

Page published: 6 December 2007

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs