At the October meeting of the Society Dr Ann Kneif gave an
illustrated talk about the Women's Land Army, recalling that
it was first formed in the closing years of the First World
War, and disbanded after the war.
Preparations were begun in early 1939 to re-establish this
army, should the anticipated war be announced, with Lady Denham
offering her home as a headquarters for the service.
Women were initially asked to volunteer for the WLA. However,
in December 1941 the government passed the National Service
Act, which allowed the conscription of women into the armed
forces or for vital war work.
At first only single women between 20 and 30, and widows without
children, were called up, but later the age limit was expanded
to include women between 17 and 45, but often much younger women
enrolled. Dr Kneif spoke about the jobs the women were expected
to do and their own thoughts on their work and recreation.
The Land Army was disbanded in 1950. We were fortunate to have
in the audience Mary Dinnis a Shoreham resident, who was herself
a land girl. Mary confirmed Dr Kneif's details were accurate
and added a few additional recollections of her own.
At the meeting the Society's latest booklet was presented, Shoreham
Village Remembers the Fallen based on the research undertaken
by Lorna Robinson of the Royal British Legion.
Half the profits from the sale of this booklet will go to the