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Royal Tribute to the rural war effort

November 4, 2014
November 4, 2014 - Royal Tribute to the rural war effort
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Recently David and I were honoured to attend the unveiling of the Women's Land Army and Women's Timber Corps memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum by HRH The Countess of Wessex. Despite the blustery weather and stormy skies there was a fantastic turn out of 'Land Girls' mostly now in their 80's but at least one over 101 years old.

Land girls

The British Women's Land Army (WLA) was first formed in 1917 as an answer to the shortage of labour on farms when the men left to fight in the trenches during the First Worl War. German U boats disrupted imports of food and a failed harvest made the situation critical.

In response to meet the demand for farm labour the Government launched the WLA and recruited 23,000 women across the country. Whilst many came from towns and cities they soon learned how to milk cows, tend the animals, plough with horses, whilst a few lucky ones got to drive tractors.The first WLA was disbanded in 1919, a full year after the end of the First World War.

One of the land girls I met on the day said she ran away from home to join at the age of 16 years as her father used to lash her with his belt, so she forged his signature and escaped!

At the onset of the Second World War in 1939 the WLA was reformed. At this time Britain was importing 70% of it's food which made the country extremely vulnerable to enemy blockades of shipping. By 1945 thanks to government initiatives and the hard work of the 80,000 unsung Land Girls the country was 70% self-sufficient in food. The work continued after the war until 1950 when the WLA were disbanded.

Lumber Jills in action

The Women's Timber Corps (WTC) was formed in 1942 and the girls quickly became known as Lumber Jills. Their tasks included selecting, measuring up, and cutting down trees using axes and saws. Timber was often removed from the forests using horses. It was then delivered to sawmills for the production of pit props, barricades, railway sleepers and coffins. The WTC was disbanded in 1946.

In all over 240,000 young women served in the WLA and WTC during the two world wars and received little recognition for their valuable contribution to the war effort.

However in 2008 survivors were awarded a Veterans' Badge and certificate.The Staffordshire branch of the Women's Food and Farming Union (WFU) then raised sufficient funds for the magnificent memorial sculpture by Denise Dutton of the Land Girls and Lumber Jills, each wearing their distinctive and iconic uniform.

WLA and WTC memorial statue

Lumber Jills and Land Girls memorial unveiled

Well done to the Staffordshire WFU, Eunice Finney and the team for their never ending determination to make this happen. We have a slight family connection and are proud to have been able to help - whilst not a Land Girl herself, as a farmer's daughter, David's mother Anne worked alongside the Land Girls.

Felicity

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Hoe Grange Holidays Tripadvisor Comments...

  •   What can I say?
    Absolutely superb!
    We have just returned from a family weekend staying in Daisybank cabin and the Skylark pod.
    It was our first trip away with my... read more

    Wheelieuser
    6/13/2019

      We had a lovely time staying in one of the incredibly well equipped pods. I bought my pony along and we had some great rides on the high peak trail.... read more

    plopster1
    6/07/2019

      We stayed in the Skylark pod last October (2018) and had a lovely time. There was homemade, rustic goods (bread, biscuits etc) when we arrived. Felicity and David who run... read more

    KBarry
    9/15/2019
  •   Second visit to the accessible holiday cabins at Hoe Grange. David and Felicity were as helpful and friendly as ever. We had a welcome pack of freshly baked bread, butter,... read more

    Charlotte M
    8/07/2019

      lovely surroundings real farm country with chickens paying you a visit nice decking area to chill at the end of the day accommodation very good plenty to do nearby... read more

    vincent s
    7/28/2019

      Loved every minute of our stay, and so did the family and friends that came to stay. Excellent facilities in our cosy Hipley log cabin. By far the best... read more

    krimpenijssel
    10/25/2019
  •   Stayed last week, from 6th to 13th September in the log cabin called Hipley. This was amazing, it was our first visit but certainly not our last. Gold standard disability... read more

    548julie
    9/14/2019

      Lovely place to holiday near to interesting locations and easy access to the High Peak trail and Carsington Water. Part of a working farm with fresh produce to enjoy during... read more

    Angie B
    8/03/2019

      We wanted a complete break and some peace and quiet and this was perfect. The caravan was secluded with beautiful views over the countryside. Everything was spotlessly clean and well... read more

    joanne B
    6/04/2019
  •   Myself and my sister travelled to Costa Rica and Panama via Viva Holidays Ltd. The holiday was exceptional and one to be treasured forever. Andrew at Viva Holidays... read more

    Paula C
    7/04/2019

      We spent four nights at Hoe Grange and had a lovely time. The location is fantastic and right next to the High Peak Trail. The cabin was very clean and... read more

    Big_Al_0000
    7/16/2019

      We've just returned from our second visit to Hoe Grange. The suggested riding routes with stunning scenery were enjoyed by my daughter and I while the menfolk were delighted with... read more

    Jdrichie12
    7/11/2019
  •   What a lovely weekend away! We stayed in the lovely gypsy caravan, which was a wonderful and really unique experience. We took along our two horses, who also had a... read more

    rachelthomas2015
    6/18/2019

      Recently spent a week in "Pinder" and had a lovely time. The location is stunning - the site is nestled in a beautiful valley on the edge of the Peaks... read more

    Peachey167
    7/16/2019

      We have just returned from a short stay in one of the pods on site at Hoe Grange Holidays. We couldn’t recommend them enough. The pod has everything you could... read more

    Catboy86
    8/17/2019
  •   Another great holiday at Hoe Grange - such a great place for us all to holiday as a family - this time with a baby, a 3 yr old, a... read more

    Thesamps
    10/04/2019

      Arrived and was shown to our pod, fantastic location and the pod was very good indeed plus we had home made bread and milk and tea and coffee. A... read more

    mickvfr
    7/28/2019

      On arriving at Hoe Grange in a downpour, we doubted if we’d made the right decision to go glamping, but after the warm welcome from David and a quick tour,... read more

    karenmD4738KD
    6/25/2019
  •   For the second year running, we have had a great family holiday at Hoe Grange. We had one cabin for the week, for two sisters and our elderly wheelchair-using... read more

    EJYork2013
    6/25/2019

      We stayed in Rainster cabin for a long weekend 6 th to 9 th September. This was my 5 th visit to the amazing Hoe Grange. I had visited before... read more

    Jan Horsman J
    9/17/2019

      It's been three years since we last visited but once we arrived it certainly didn't feel like it!
    We stayed in Hipley again which had had a refurbished wet... read more

    ElizabethA717
    9/21/2019
  •   We stayed in Pinder cabin and had a lovely stay, the cabin was spacious and comfortable, nice and warm after cold days out. The children loved meeting the animals and... read more

    Tiggywinkle15
    11/05/2019

      We love this place. Very wheelchair friendly, really well equipped and comfortable, with easy access by car to lots of places of interest particularly Crich Tramway Village, Chatsworth, Bakewell and... read more

    David H
    10/25/2019

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