As I eagerly await season 3 of Call the Midwife, I decided to check out earlier BBC drama Land Girls. The show is pleasant enough with an excellent women’s wardrobe – although it’s a bit on the vapid side as far as army and war-time portrayal. It did inspire me to head online to collect images of the real Land Girls.
The Women’s Land Army was created during World War I, a time when the majority of farm and land work had been done by men. When the men were called to war, the British government called upon their women to help out on the farms. Britain relied on these women to help keep their farms thriving and functioning, thus providing food and resources that were desperately needed during that time. There is evidence that many of the women who joined the WLA were underpaid, but continued to work incredibly hard long hours.
For World War II, the WLA was organized under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and set up headquarters at Balcombe Place with Lady Denham in charge. England and Wales were divided into 7 regions with 52 county offices. Women who were interested in joining the WLA underwent an interview and medical and their training often happened on the job, or, farm.
The wardrobe of a WLA member consisted of brown corduroy or whipcord breeches, brown brogues, fawn knee-length woollen socks, a green v-necked pullover, a fawn shirt and a brown cowboy style hat. Although it was common to add a few unique touches to make the uniform more personal.
When the U-Boat campaign was in full steam, Britain relied heavily on the work of the WLA on the farms. As a result, reliance on imported goods dropped drastically and Britain became mostly self-sufficient. The WLA continued after the war until it was disbanded in 1950. Throughout its term, the WLA provided jobs for some 90,000 British women.