Showing posts from October, 2020

Life for a Londoner in the Land Army

My mother Eileen joined the Women's Land Army in June 1940. Her writings – public and private – give an insight into what life was like for a nineteen-year-old Londoner thrown into farm work in Somerset. An article by Eileen was carried in the December 1941 edition of "The Land Girl" Her article in "The Land Girl" painted a generally happy picture of her time but her later reminiscences revealed the loneliness of the city girl neither accepted by the farm workers or the farmers themselves – especially when she was placed on a farm in Street, where she commented “I worked for a bully”. I have put together the following from notes in an old exercise book that I found when clearing her house about her first month’s “training” in Erdington, Somerset: Everything was old and in need of repair at "Burnt House Farm". A disaster had struck it long ago and the present tenant, Mr Yatton, seemed content to include himself in the farm's ill fortune. Mild,

Alone in Pevensey - Mum's memories in poetry

My Mum left a series of poems and prose about her wartime life.  In one album she writes, "my life as a mechanic is isolated. At RAF Pevensey in 1945, I am discovered by Jerry Ford".  Her poem says much more: Pevensey Blues An ignorant girl Stood in a swamp and stared. A black man on a bicycle saw the girl in the middle of the marsh and stopped. Hi! The girl believed she was invisible and did not hear. Hi! Nonchalant, admiring, he waited. Caltha palustris, shining, glabrous, held her in thrall. She learned words like this from a little book. She always carried a book to help her in her ignorance. She stared at the king-cup, golden-eyed, unwinking. Hi!      He approached. Being a polite sort of girl she went to enquire if  something was the matter And thus began a conversation. At Eastbourne, sprawled at ease on a bed of pebbles He potted seagulls Laughed uproariously when she remonstrated. At home, he said, they ate little birds, Killed them with stones, And laugh, right from