The Women’s Land Army

What was ‘The Women’s Land Army?’

During the first World War women were mobilized to work with food production on farms and in gardens across England and America. This program was called ‘The Women’s Land Army.’ Later with the outbreak of World War II, it was re-introduced for the same purpose.

Land girls were hired to work many hours ploughing (mainly with horses due to the short supply of tractors), milking cows, digging ditches, logging, etc. For their hard labor they were given a small allowance along with their uniform. In England it was the classic beige corduroy breeches, green pullover sweater and cowboy style hat.

When the war ended most of the women returned to civilian life. The army officially closed in 1950.

Note- What interests me is that Laura Ashley carried similar corduroy breeches in one of her fall collections. I bought a pair never realizing the inspiration behind it…until now. :)

(Top photo- Flickr. Posters- Google Images. Collage- Martha B.)

Update 9/17/2011- A pair of English Land Army women take a break from their work at a roadside well in May 1944. Photo by Frank Scherschel for Life Magazine.

15 thoughts on “The Women’s Land Army

  1. There was a great article in the last Selvedge Magazine about the Women’s Land Army and you can see a fine photo of an original pair of the breeches and a lot of great info on the issued uniform. My aunt was a “Land Girl” and I always romanticized it, but now I realize that it wasn’t quite the prettified image of girls smiling in fields of golden hay that I’d held. Those girls worked HARD in rain and cold and mud. Propaganda or not, I still love the old photos and the uniform.

    1. Bria- Ohh..I know…that article in Selvedge was wonderful. You’re so right…those girls worked very hard. I read somewhere that they were in the fields and/or logging 50? hours a week. Farmers didn’t think they would last but the girls proved them wrong. :)

  2. Very, very cool. Those girls were tough!! I don’t think I could do hard labor for 50 hours a week, what a wimp!!

  3. Hi Martha,
    I was delighted to read your post on the Woman’s Land Army –and you (and your devoted readers) might enjoy a new book about the American Land Army of WWI–the “farmerettes”–the “girl with the hoe behind the man with a gun.” 20,000 women working in the fields in 25 states. Great story, amazing women, and very cool uniforms.
    Visit: fruitsofvictorybook.com for details, photos, songs, even recipes of the Woman’s Land Army.
    best wishes,
    Elaine Weiss,
    Baltimore

    1. Hi Elaine- Thanks so much for letting me know about this book. I will definitely check it out!

  4. I just wanted to let you know that during WW2 there was a land army here in Australia too. A couple of my great aunts participated.
    Kerry

    1. Hi Kerry- Yes…I just recently read that there were other land armies. How wonderful to have family members that were in it! :)

  5. i have a weekend away based on the war i need to dress up and i need to be a land army girl but i need to know wot to wear
    any answers welcome
    ta!

    1. Cate- I’ve seen some original clothing from the land army on ebay. Have you tried there?

  6. This is so neat to see. My Mother was in the Land Army and I loved all the stories she told about her two years of service. She was from Wythington, Manchester and served during ww2. Her name is Mary Robson. I wish I would have recorded the tales but when you are young you do not think to do such things.

    1. Hi Leesa- In honor of your mom…write down her stories before you forget. My father has done this in his scrapbooks…stories of his grandparents and parents…all as a gift to us. I treasure those books! :)

Comments are closed.