Over thirty surviving `Land Girls` who toiled on the Home Front to provide food for Britain were officially honoured at a reception host by Epping Forest District Council at Theydon Bois Village Hall.
Official recognition of their role has been woefully late in coming. When the Women`s Land Army was disbanded in 1950 the members were shabbily treated, receiving neither medals nor gratuities, and being required to return most of their uniforms.
It was not until the new millennium that members of the Women`s Land Army and Women`s Timber Corps were allowed to join the annual Remembrance Day march in London to the Cenotaph, despite the fact that other national service organisations had for some time been part of the parade.
It took a further eight years of pressure before the British Government agreed to officially recognise the efforts of Land Girls in 2008 and award a specially designed badge to commemorate their service.
The badge has been specially designed by the Garter King at Arms and bears the Royal Crown. It shows a gold wheat sheaf on a white background surrounded by a circlet of pine branches and pine cones to indicate the work of both the Land Army and the Timber Corps.
Each `Land Girl` was represented with her official badge and a specially designed certificate by former Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman and the Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, Michael Chapman.
The afternoon reception was a very happy occasion with many of the guests getting a chance to recall their wartime memories with fellow `Land Girls`, of whom many are now over 80 years of age. Stories told were of the incredibly hard work, long hours and even some of romance. But overwhelmingly it was a time of happy memories and comradeship.
Following the presentations Florence Harrison 86 from Theydon Bois said I`m very proud to be given this medal, although I didn`t think about what I was doing at the time. We just got on with it and had a thoroughly enjoyable time – just like this afternoon`.
A full list of the Epping Forest District Land Girls who received an official badge is listed below with links to photographs of those who attended the reception.
|Susanna Andrewes||Ivy Grant||Christine Rumball|
|Frances Astrella||Lillian Griffiths||Muriel Rush|
|Marjorie Bird||Joan Hammond||Doris Sage|
|Evelyn Bolden||Dorothy Harris||Margaret Saggers|
|M P Butcher||Florence Harrison||Rosetta Saville|
|Edna Campion||Queenie Harvey||Doris Seaman|
|Doreen Childs||Betty Holland||Joan Sleet|
|Joan Cloughton||Sheila Horsham||W M Smith|
|Sylvia Cole||Constance Jackson||Myrtle Stallan|
|Frances Cray||Gladys Kempton||Margaret Starling|
|Elsie Dearson||Phyllis Kennerley||Sylvia Studwick|
|Irene Edwards||Kathleen Knott||Mary Trower|
|Amy Eldridge||Rita Lea||Lilian Twaites|
|Joan Everett||Jenny Lowe||Violet Webb|
|Lilian Fensom||Joan Lynes||Barbara Williams|
|Doreen Fitzpatrick||Constance McPhail||Rita Williams|
|Ivy Gaze||Jean Ann Murray||Joan Wood|
|Mollie Gingell||Joyce Pollard||Jessie Wood|
|Bessie Goss||Gwendoline Rae||Marcia Wood|
|Jane Gottschalk||Flora Rideout|