Reviewed by: Sue Wingrove Author: Ann Kramer Publisher: Pen & Sword Price (RRP): 14.99
After a two-year existence in the First World War, Britain’s Women’s Land Army was reformed in 1939, initially to bring in that year’s harvest. By 1943 more than 80,000 ‘Land Girls’ were producing 70 per cent of the nation’s food.
Written by the advisor to the recent BBC drama series Land Girls, this book tells the story of the women who produced the nation’s wartime food. They faced discrimination against women workers doing ‘men’s jobs’ from officialdom and male farmers alike, and worked long, backbreaking hours to put food on the nation’s table.
City hairdressers who had never left home before could be stationed anywhere in the country. After minimal training they might find themselves dung-spreading, milking cows, working with heavy horses, driving tractors, lifting potatoes or, for those in the Timber Corps, involved in forestry work.
The author uses primary sources plus original photographs and interviews with former Land Girls to paint a vivid picture of the women who scuppered Germany’s objective to starve Britain into submission during the Second World War.
Sue Wingrove is deputy editor of BBC History Magazine