Skip to content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer

March News – Memories of a Land Army Girl

I was born in Hackney London in 1923 but moved to Dartford when I was about eleven years old. School days were very mundane although the schools I attended were very good, very large and uniform a must. My first job was in a Scotch Wool & Hosiery shop as a window dresser. I was proud of my wages, nine shillings and eight pence per week, which I handed to my parents and received nine pence per week pocket money which I thought was great, as nothing in Woolworths was over sixpence and the nicest of dresses in Marks & Spencer was only four shillings eleven pence.

I remember Neville Chamberlain on the radio saying we were at War and the sirens going a short while after. The sirens being used as Air Raid Notice, lucky a false alarm that time, but not so for long, the blackouts and sleeping in Anderson Shelters night after night when German Bombers came over. One night my family decided to sleep in our proper beds, but wished we hadn’t. A landmine (?) dropped in our street killing 21 people and injuring 48. We were lucky, the house was badly damaged but we survived. I can still see that street now all cordoned off, we had to ask permission to rescue any of our possessions.

I joined the Land Army a few months later and after passing my medical was posted to a hostel on the Romney Marsh and arrived at a Railway Station called Appledore, which I had never heard of before in my life. I was picked up by car and taken to Brenzett where I met about forty other girls green as grass just like me, nearly all Londoners.

It was tough going at first, up at 5.30am each morning, cycling miles each morning following a threshing machine driven by a Steam Roller (? Traction Engine). We did all kinds of land work, Bean Cutting, picking up Spuds, Sheep Dipping, Hay Making, Stooking, Bale Carting then back to Threshing. Hostel life was great fun, Rules were strict, in by ten o’clock at night, we used to let the odd one in via the window.

I remember the first Doodle Bug coming over, my friend and I byked to Appledore to have a drink and landed up in a pub The Victoria, The Landlady was Hannah Green. If you were a local you served yourself so we found out.

It was in that pub that I met my husband and when we byked back to Brenzett that first Doodle Bug was flashing its way above Appledore Station. I’ll never forget that one, the first of many that crossed Romney Marsh, many to be shot down before reaching London. They caused havoc.

Happy memories of four years in the Land Army, I made a lot of friends and found a Husband. I’ve never wanted, ever to go back to town, or leave the Marsh.

(This person lived in Appledore for the rest of their life.)