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Bedfordshire Women's Land Army

Timeline 1948

Bedfordshire Women's Land Army > Timelines


  • Punch cartoon, May 194616 January. Three Bedfordshire Land Girls - L. Croft, J. Garratt & I. Skevington - joined with 426 other eight-year land girls (out of 773) at a party given in their honour by the National Farmers Union in Caxton Hall, London. Miss B. Fuller (County Organiser & Mrs. Robinson (Committee Member) also attended.
  • 26 January. Announcement by Minister of Agriculture that the Women's Land Army (WLA) would go on for a further two or three years.
  • Two hundred and fifty land girls attended "Cinderella" pantomime at the Royal County Theatre, Bedford.
  • Bolnhurst Hostel entertained 44 children from local Dr. Barnardo's Howard Home, Bedford to tea, with a present for each child. Father Christmas (resembling an RAF Sergeant) arrived with two bags full of presents. Mrs. Sutton, assistant Warden, on duty. Mrs. Truman, WLA Welfare Officer, led community singing and the children sang carols.
  • Recent recruits to Bedfordshire WLA from Huntingdonshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, London and Middlesex.
  • Visits by land girls to county factories: Vauxhall Motors, Cryselco and Meltis (Land Army News, February 1948 (Vol.1, No.9) p3).


  • Sixth anniversary of Milton Ernest Hostel celebrated with Dawn Skeggs (four and a half years veteran) cutting the cake with the County Secretary (Land Army News, April 1948 (Vol.1, No.11) p3).


  • 14 March. Beginning of national and local recruitment campaign for WLA. Urgent need for 1500 vacancies, nationally, in both War Ag. gangs, on private farm and on market gardens.

Rosemary Denton

Rose Denton


  • Toddington and Kensworth hostels took glove-making classes with visiting instructress from Bedford Education Authority.
  • Death of Ethel Eaton, outstanding tractor driver and winner of the County Ploughing Competition at Eaton Socon, 1943, announced.
  • County WLA head office shortly to lose Miss P. Collier, Employment Officer.
Hasells Hall, Sandy, post-war WLA hostel

Hasells Hall, Sandy, post-war WLA hostel

  • New hostel to open shortly near Sandy, at Hasells Hall. Working party of land girls were currently getting the kitchen garden ready. They hoped to be settled in a few weeks' time (Land Army News, April 1948 (Vol.1, No.10) p1).


Pea picking in the Cople area

Pea picking in the Cople area

  • "Pastures new. Vacancies. Bedfordshire. Wanted for pigs and poultry farm, girl with technical knowledge, able to instruct students. Cottage billets. Wages above minimum." (Land Army News, May 1948 (Vol.1, N.12) p.1).
  • "Smiling Girls in Apple Blossom Time". Margaret Scaife and Margaret Coulin shown in photo engaged in pruning over 1 million apple trees in Co-operative Wholesale Society's orchard in Cockayne Hatley (Bedfordshire Times, 7 May 1948 p.6)
Margaret Scaife and Margaret Coulin

Margaret Scaife and Margaret Conlin

  • "Hasells Hall at Sandy is now being put into shape by the Ministry of Works for use as a hostel." (Bedfordshire Times, 7 May, 1948 p6).


  • Land Army County Committees disappeared, together with District Representatives (both unpaid elements of the WLA organisation) but there would still be a WLA County Organiser. A Welfare Committee to be set up in each county. (Land Army News, February 1948 (Vol.1, No.9) p1).
  • Land girls shown "Combating the Colorado Beetle Menace". Land girls from "Houghton Conquest" (Chimney Corner hostel) have been trained to inspect crops locally (Bedfordshire Times, 4 June 1948 p6).
Combating the Colorado Beetle Menace

"Chimney Corner" land girls
BLARS (Bedfordshire Times archive)

  • Mrs. Inez Jenkins (who had helped Lady Denman in 1938 set up the WLA nationally, as Assistant Director) resigned as Chief Administrative Officer: "now needed in her own home". Her role was taken by Miss Amy Curtis (ex. Women's Royal Naval Service Superintendent., Portsmouth Command, then Ministry of Labour).
Mrs. Inez Jenkins C.B.E.

(February 14-16 1946 Rally and Exhibition Souvenir Programme)

  • Only quarterly visits to employers by the County Organiser (previously monthly visits).
  • Proficiency test awards listed for Bedfordshire.
  • Recent hostel dances at Leighton Buzzard, Toddington and Kensworth in aid of the local welfare fund. Generous collections at Cople House. Many hostels saving for Sunday motor coach trips. Aspley Guise hostel took part in a Music Festival organised by Bedford Rural School of Music, 22 May (Land Army News, June 1848 (Vol.2, No.1) p3).

JulyLiz Day

  • Berets now to be the official headgear for land girls, in place of the original felt hat.
  • Congratulations to Elizabeth Day, of Bedford, 8 year veteran, on the award of the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the WLA (Land Army News July 1948 (Vol.2, No.2) p1) Her humour and keenness for her work typifies the spirit of the Land Army at its best (Land Army News, August 1948 (Vol.2, No.3) p4).


  • WLA stand at County Agricultural Show, Cardington Road ground, Bedford: "an interesting and unique 'stand' built of straw and decorated with large bunches of vegetables".
  • Miss Fuller, Warden, given farewell party at The Holt, Aspley Guise hostel. The land girls' gift was an electric clock and a butter dish (Land Army News, August 1948 (Vol.2, No.3) p4).
  • "Land Girls Travel Time. Dissatisfaction at Hostel". Previous special additional payments in Bedfordshire for land girls while travelling from hostel to work and back withdrawn now that pay had been increased to 68s per week. Now only paid if travel times exceeded 30 minutes each way. Land girls who drove lorries now to be paid extra 10 shillings (50p) per week, and not the previous 12s. 6d (62 p) (Land Army News, August 1948 (Vol.2, No.3) p6).
  • Miss Betty Pentelow from Bromham (land girl from December 1941), passed with distinction as one of 80 land girls taking the nine month course at Northants Farm Institute, Moulton, and won prize for best student. She wants to be a farm secretary. Elizabeth Day and Jean Prole also passed.
Reaping machine in Hulcote field, 1940s

Reaping machine in Hulcote field, 1940s


  • "Some of our readers may have heard that hostels in their own counties are closing and wonder if the Land Army is no longer needed; this is certainly not the case, it is needed but in a different way. If a smaller number is to be employed on field work, there will be plenty of opportunities in other branches: milkers are desperately wanted now." (Land Army News, September 1948 (Vol.2, No.4) p1).

Stuart Antrobus Historian/Author

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Page last updated: 10th March 2014