Holding the Home Front - The Women’s Land Army in the First World War
Holding the Home Front
The Women’s Land Army in the First World War book by Pen and sward
Within days of the start of the First World War there were calls for women to come to the fields, but it would be almost three years before the Women’s Land Army was established. In that time though, various private and public initiatives would be launched to pull women onto the land. The Women’s Land Army would be shaped as much by the successes and failures of these earlier enterprises as by the precise requirements of 1917. It was a process of evolution, not revolution, and agricultural policy had also evolved over the course of the first three years of the war. By the spring of 1917 farmers were being called upon to plough out, to push back the borders and extend the cultivated acreage back to the highs of the 1870s. Agriculture would thus need most labour just as it had least available. Britain’s food security had never looked most precarious than it did at the start of 1917.
Photo Shows: Advert for ‘Woman Power’ insurance (Eagle Star & British Dominions Insurance Company, Ltd.), The Landswoman, July 1918, No. 7, Vol. 1. ‘Woman-power throughout the British Empire stands out dominantly as the most wonderful feature of the War,’ the advert stated. It suggested that women did not ‘grasp the meaning of what the consequences of a serious illness or accident would be to her.’ Pre-war women’s labour was not considered worth insuring.
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