Phyllis Davies from Talgarth began by delivering
milk when she joined the Land Army. Here she talks about some of
the other jobs she remembers doing :-
"Well, I think the best
thing I liked doing was ploughing, really. We used to go...that
was just when I came down to work on the War Ags. That was the best
days of my life, I think! It depends what you were doing of course,
I mean if you were thrashing you'd go out with the man that's got
the drum and you were cutting sheaves all day and feeding the drum
and that went on for most of the winter...to get the thrashing all
Cutting the Gorse, that was when I was up Llwyl up at, round Trecastle.
No didn't like that at all. But, mind you, nobody was used to doing
that job. And it wasn't a very good job to get used to if it comes
to that, was it? Cutting gorse wasn't a very pleasant thing to be
doing. But after that I went on machinery. Up in Trecastle that
was, with..., the foreman up there was Bill Leith. And he was a
very, very good teacher...you could ask him anything you know, and
he's explain everything to you, he was really good Bill Leith was.
I used to go home at weekends but when I came from Pantscallog...they
came up to Pantscallog, Sid Jones, you know Sid Jones...Potato Jones
[laughs] no not Potato Jones, the one that lived at the mill, that
one. He came looking for a girl to go down to the Talgarth area
and no-one wanted to volunteer no, they wasn't going. Nobody volunteered
so he said to me well you're from Talgarth, won't you come down
there? Well, I said if I come down there I'm not going to be lodging
in Talgarth because my home is only about three mile away. He said
well I don't know whether they'd allow that...I said well if they
don't allow it I'm not going [laughter]. Anyway,
they agreed to let me lodge at home and from there on I think Elsie
knows more about it than anybody else [laughs]."
Elsie Gwynne came to Mid Wales from Yorkshire
when she was 19 to join the Land Amy. Here she describes her memories
of arriving at Glasbury station :-
"Well, when I came
here I was 19, and I'd never travelled far on my own, you know and
my father took me to the station and he said, well you'll see some
other girls in uniform...make yourself known like, which I did.
And so we travelled, I was lucky because they were coming to Brecon,
so I travelled down with them like, you know, and coming now towards
Glasbury looking over the countryside and I said then, ooh I'm going-we
didn't know where we had to go to a hostel-and I said ooh I'm gonna
live in that castle up there. But we didn't even know then that
it was the hostel! And I was surprised when we got up because it
were, as Rennie told you before, absolutely gorgeous you know when
you saw it. And there were about 40 girls when I got in. And...one
girl had told us we could sit, there were four of us sitting in
this place like, you know. And we naturally sat down and had our
food there and all of a sudden, well two girls it was, bounced in,
well, apart from swearing at us...asking us what we were sitting
in that place for, like you know, ooh it was absolutely terrifying
because we were sitting in their seats you see and she told us to
get out from there. Well, it so upset me did that, well all of us,
you know, that I swore then that if I ever, you know new girls came
I would always make sure they would have somewhere to sit because
we were absolutely terrified, we were in tears really. We hadn't
been used to anything like that, you know. And then the next morning
we were given our jobs where to go and my first job was in the gardens,
the rose garden, double digging these rose gardens. I had blisters
like nobodies...because I'd never had a spade in me hand, I didn't
know what it was! And then after that I went on the Commons because
it were planting potato time and we were planting potatoes round
the Commons like and then afterwards I had been there about two
months and I was asked, well, to volunteer for tractor driving in
Breconshire. So then for the next, how many years was it, about
8 years I drove tractors."
Irene Gwynne from London joined the Land Army
at 17, here is part of her story.
I was in London and worked for Picture Post for Farmer's Weekly
with my mother. I was 17 and she didn't want me to go. I had to
go to a tribunal because they argued it was a reserved profession
but my mother gave up when I threatened to join the air force as
soon as I was 17 and a half! I went to work in Middlesex first,
at a market garden there but I wanted to move on.
I was sent to Glasbury (which we thought was pronounced glass bury!)
and I remember changing trains at Hereford and then when we got
to the station at Glasbury there was a truck to meet us but it had
broken down and we had to push it to the hostel! It was quite a
shock and I had told myself I would give it two weeks, but we arrived
at the hostel which was at Maeswllch Castle which was covered in
red ivy and was lovely...and I ended up staying for the three years
until the hostel closed.
My bedroom was over the ballroom which was beautiful. And there
was a beautiful staircase, when you came down you felt like a film
star! We got one girl who got married there to come down those stairs
in her wedding dress !
I started in the market garden and then transferred
to machinery, doing threshing, planting and hoeing and so on.
The War-Ag would send us out to do jobs,
farms would apply to have us for a few days and then feed us. Some
were really mean and you wouldn't even get a cup of tea, but others
were lovely and couldn't do enough for you.
Then it was like having Christmas dinner! One family though had
lovely food and all sat opposite us while we had the awful stuff.
My husband-to-be used to put the meat that was like gristle in a
handkerchief and the dogs would chase him!
The farms up near Phyllis' were nice, the hill farmers were the
nicest. The lower ones didn't want you in their homes. I remember
Ifor Thomas and his family though, he would always pick you up in
his car and then you had to dine with them and they had a maid!