A large crowd packed the Town Hall this week to hear an appeal on behalf of the Women’s Land Army (WLA). Volunteers are wanted, the Constable of St Helier told the enthusiastic audience, and he was sure that many Jersey women would be willing to help their country in wartime.
Since 1915, Britain has been employing women in agricultural, forestry and foraging work. These efforts culminated with the WLA formation last year, a uniformed corps complete with military-style badges and armbands. Posted to farms and estates, volunteers replace men who have left to serve in the armed forces.
Addressing the Town Hall crowd, a guest WLA speaker explained that volunteers work 10 or more hours per day for a wage of up to 24 shillings per week. Duties are hard but rewarding, with even the most sceptical of farmers recognising the value of their female workers.
Overcoming local prejudice against women working would be one of the principal challenges, the Constable admitted, but he was sure that once started, Jersey’s women would prove their worth.
It is understood more than 100 women and 12 farmers have come forward following the meeting to express an interest.
A/D1/W6 contains various documents relating to Jersey women working in wartime.