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UK Land Girls Honoured For World War II Efforts

Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (UK)

30,000 Land Girls receive badge of honour for war efforts

Former members of the Women's Land Army and Timber Corps will today be honoured in a special ceremony, in recognition of their efforts to provide for the nation during World War II.


Women's Land Army, Great Britain, World War II

Fifty Land Girls have been invited to represent their former colleagues at a ceremony at Downing Street today, where they will meet the Prime Minister and be presented with their badges of honour by Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Hilary Benn announced in December 2007 that the Land Girls would receive formal recognition for the first time. At its peak in 1943 there were 80,000 Land Girls working on the land from dawn till dusk to provide food for the nation during the war.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

"The Women's Land Army and Women's Timber Corps worked tirelessly in the war years to keep this country going by providing food and supplies, and timber for the war effort. Their work was absolutely vital, and it is right that we thank them now for their dedication in the service of their country."

Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Hilary Benn said:

"This nation owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Land Girls and the Lumber Jills - as they were affectionately known. During the dark days of the war they provided food for the nation and their contribution was as important as that of everyone who served. It's absolutely right that we recognise their commitment by the award of the long awaited badge and pay tribute to their determination, courage and spirit in the face of adversity."

Former Land Girl Hilda Gibson, 83, was at No.10 Downing Street today receiving her badge of honour. She served with the Women's Land Army from 1944-1946, carrying out pest control on Lincolnshire farms and then on a poultry farm in Norfolk.

Hilda Gibson said:

"I was posted to a poultry farm in East Anglia, which was very physical work, but I was young, fit and enthusiastic. The whole experience has stuck with me ever since. I think it's a really good idea to create these awards. Everyone had to do their bit during the war and serving my country in its hour of need was a privilege."

The Women's Land Army, also known as the Land Girls, worked on farms to feed the nation during the war, as male workers went off to fight. They supplied the nation with food, supporting the war effort and avoiding food shortages.

NOTES

1. Hilary Benn announced on 6 December 2007 that surviving members of the Women's Land Army and Women's Timber Corps would be presented with a specially designed badge of honour commemorating their service.

2. For photos of Land Girls at work and other memorabilia, or to interview a Land Girl, contact Linda Scott, Defra press office.

3. At its peak in 1943 there were some 80,000 women working on the land. The Land Army continued after the war, finally being disbanded in 1950.

4. Land Girls wore uniforms of green ties and jumpers and brown felt slouch hats. They worked from dawn till dusk each day, milking cows, digging ditches, sowing seeds and harvesting crops to supply the nation with food. The Women's Timber Corps, also known as the 'Lumber Jills' worked tirelessly in the forests to provide timber for the war effort felling trees, sawing timber and sharpening saws.

Client ref 236/08
COI ref 163719P

ENDS

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