Sunday, July 8, 2018

Those jaunty jalopies

Every year my church, 1st Lutheran in Princeton, holds a classic car show to help raise money for a food giveaway we sponsor twice a year. Baked goods, home made brats and hot dogs, kiddie rides and more are available to entertain the public though the Main attraction is the vintages Cars.

Sleek sport cars vie for space with classic 1950's show stoppers with so much chrome the sun might blind you at the right angle. Older cars as well, cars that your granddad used to drive or something you've only seen in a museum.  In addition we had antique tractors, fire engines, some old Hit-n-Miss engines and we had a couple brave souls who dressed up as furry mascots and braved the 100 degree heat to give the kids something to enjoy.

So if you're free next June come out and enjoy the show, have a brat, and walk amongst the classics!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Women's Land Army

On a recent outing with Stephen Beatty we went up to Dixon where another world war 2 reenactment was going on.  There was the usual assortment of men dressed as soldiers, with tanks, jeeps, cannon and even a mock battle. It was an enjoyable day and towards the end of it we chanced upon a pair of enchanting young women who were happy to talk about the woman's land army and the vital role it played in world wars one and two. 

Great Britain was facing a problem at the beginning of the war. They needed young men by the hundreds of thousands to go fight the war and yet many of these men were ALSO needed working the farms and dairies of England, keeping the country and the army fed. Their solution became the W.L.A.  The Women's Land Army, or Land Girls, was organized in England by the board of agriculture beginning in 1915 as a means to keep the country fed during wartime. With all the able bodied men conscripted into the army the country was in desperate need of keeping the farms going. The solution was to relocate young women from the cities to the country side to take up where the men had left off.

 There was opposition at first from tradition bound farmers who refused to accept female workers so it became necessary for the government to send people out to the farms to convince the farmers to allow women to do 'men's work'.  By the end of the war over 250,000 women had been employed growing crops, picking fruit, milking cows, and more.

When world war two broke out the Land Girls were reactivated and given a female leader, Lady Gertrude Denman who served the entirety of the war and was awarded the rank of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.  The majority of the girls involved already lived in the country but nearly a third of them came from the cities under threat of air attack by the German's.  Service was voluntary at first but conscription soon became necessary and by 1944 there were over 80,000 women working the farms.

The program was so successful that a sub branch called the Women's Timber Corps was organized in 1942 and its members, known as 'Lumber Jill's' cleared forests for air strips, fought forest fires, blazed trails, and more. The land girls were immortalized in books and film by the British and there's even a series currently playing on Netflix called Land Girls.

I want to give a Huge thank you to Sally Henson and Lisa Dousharm for taking the time to explain the history of this little known, but vital, part of the war effort.