Land Girls in the First World War

The following article was written by University Centre Doncaster student Christine Branton, and aims to provide primary school children with an introduction to the Land Army in the First World War. Download this article as a PDF.

Did you know that women and children helped feed Britain in the First World War, when nearly all the men were conscripted to and go and fight away from home? Conscription means that if they were healthy and in the right age range they had no choice but go and fight.

Land Girls Uniform

Title: Land Girls Uniform
Description: Land Girls Uniform. Image: by-nc

Some men who were farmers or worked on a farm still had to go, which meant that they were unable to produce the meat, vegetables and grains for people to eat. The government decided to train women to fill in these jobs whilst the men were out fighting.

They just had two weeks to learn the basics, and then they were sent to farms. It could be a long way away from home, so they often lived there. They were paid about a pound a week but then a pound would buy more than a pound would today!

The Land Girls had to do what the farmer told them to do. This would include milking the cows, tending to the cattle and horses, helping with the harvest and anything else that needed doing on the farm. They were up very early every morning and went to bed when it was late. It was very hard work but the most of the girls enjoyed it, except perhaps when they had to work in the rain, and snow!

College girls collecting the pulled flax on a farm in Yeovil, Somerset. IWM (Q 30898)