A new campaign has been launched to pay tribute to the women who kept British farming going throughout the two world wars. Staffordshire Women’s Food and Farming Union (WFU) is raising funds for a lasting memorial to honour the work of the Women’s Land Army, to be sited at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire.

The WFU has named its new fundraising campaign WLA Tribute, with plans to commission a bronze sculpture that will be based on the Land Girl of the famous wartime recruitment poster. The memorial will also reflect the work of the Lumber Jills — members of the Women’s Timber Corp, formed to maintain vital supplies of timber during the wars. When thousands of British farm workers left to fight the war, a new labour force was quickly needed and the government urged young women to take their place and work hard to make Britain more self-sufficient. The Women’s Land Army was first formed in 1917 and the Land Girls, as they became known, were trained in agricultural skills and posted around the country to work on British farms.

The Women’s Land Army fed our parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles — they fed Britain throughout the war — and they deserve the tribute of a permanent memorial to acknowledge this.

To create the memorial and fund a maintenance schedule and dedication ceremony, the WFU needs to raise between £80,000 and £100,000.

Staffordshire WFU has created a website: womenslandarmytribute.co.uk, where more information, posters and photographs can be found. The project is being promoted on Twitter — @WLATribute — and has its own Facebook page entitled Women's Land Army Tribute. For further information email: info@womenslandarmytribute.co.uk.

Julie Scott

WLA Tribute Co-ordinator and WFU member