We’ll be talking about some of the hidden gems to be found in the Women’s and Army archive at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, tomorrow. We start at 2PM, Upper Dales Family History Group, Harmby Village Hall, nr Leyburn.
Whilst working on the talk, we found in the archive, two rather interesting letters. One, apparently mundane post-War letter, written 14th February, 1949, by a former Land Girl, addressed to one of the North Riding organisers of the Women’s Land Army:
Dear Mrs D____,
I hope you are keeping well.
I have been in Sheffield for two weeks, now and I am to be married on Saturday Feb 26th.
I often think about you and the lovely times we all had with the W.L.A… I was pleased to see you again, when we met in town, nefore Xmas.
I sometimes see Barbara, and Marjorie, but I haven’t seen Dorothy since she was married.
We certainly had some happy times together… I ave lots of things to do before Feb 26th, and I am feeling very happy about everything. We have found very nice accomodation.
Stephanie is staying with mother for a week or two, and she is quite happy. She has grown a lovely girl, and we shall all be happy together.
… We have lots of lovely memories of our life in the W.L.A and I like to keep in touch with you… I hope to see you again soon.
That hope to see eachother again may not have been entirely mutual. From elsewhere in the archive, a confidential letter written in pencil, presumably in haste, by the addressee of the above to another WLA official, dated a few years earlier, 6th July, 1945 (full names redacted):
… I met Mollie T. just before I went away last week with the new vermin girl, C.P. I stopped and asked if she was training here and where was K______. Upon which she said: ‘Oh, K_____’s left!’ When I asked why… Mollie said ‘Oh I don’t know, she just said one morning “I’m off”!’ I asked if she’d got a house, and Mollie said not… I got the impression Mollie was a bit bothered by K____’s behaviour…
How tiresome girls are. K____ R____ gave me and Mrs Jackson quite a lot of trouble getting her that job, and she also told me she would be glad of a little financial help if it was there for the asking!!!
Vita Sackville-West wrote in her book, ‘The Women’s Land Army’, in 1944:
I think the credit which some of these girls deserve can scarcely be exaggerated. I really do. Heaven knows that I have sometimes wished I might never see a Land-Girl again, as any W.L.A official would say if she were honest enough. But how easily one’s exasperation melts away!
… I remember one particular morning when the siren woke me; I looked at my watch, six o’clock; it was January, pitch-dark still, I lay listening to the planes overhead, then to the distant guns; then to a peculiar sound which, alf asleep, I didn’t at first recognise… then identified it as the familiar whine of the cooling-machine up at the cowshed… and I realised then that five girls (two of whom I knew to be frightened of raids) had already been in the sheds for an hour… getting the warm sweet milk, and I really don’t know whether I felt more ashamed of myself for being still in my comfortable bed, or for having ever been guilty of irascibility against these plucky and sturdy little toilers…
Images courtesy of the Yorkshire Museum of Farming.