Juliana (Judy) joined the Women's Land Army in mid-summer 1942.  She lived in Slough and had wanted to join the WRNS but her brother was in the Army so her mother wanted Juliana to stay at home.  Juliana became a Land Girl and signed up as 'Static', meaning she would always stay in the Slough area.   The Land Army was a Civilian organisation re-created in June 1939, having proved its worth in WW1.   Many of the girls already lived in the country but 1/3 came from towns.  At first the Land Army was purely voluntary, but then it came under Conscription; by 1944, it numbered 80,000 and its Honorary head was Lady Denman.  It is worth noting that the efforts of the Land Girls were only officially recognised by the Government in 2007 with the issuing of a Badge of Honour.

Juliana was sent to Eton College to work and her first job was singling out onion seedlings, "only as thick as a darning needle", from a huge patch.  It took hours and she was very stiff at the end of it.  The girls worked in pairs and Juliana was with a girl from Southern Ireland called Ann Lahiff but there was a group of 6 Land Girls in the area.  " A real mixed bunch" says Juliana.   The Gardener was a bit of a misogynist called Wiseman who said the inevitable "Wise by name and wise by nature".  The next job for the girls was to sort potatoes from a huge well; it had to be done with bare hands and the rats had been at the potatoes.  As Juliana says "A horrendous job". 

Then Wiseman wanted a Vegetable patch dug and got Juliana to dig it down to a fine seedless tilth and then roller it with a very heavy roller.  Mr. Wiseman was not Juliana's favourite person; he was very proud of his pure white cinerarias so, as Juliana was leaving Eton for good, she took a piece of cotton wool, dabbed it among the coloured varieties and cross-pollinated all the white ones! A happier memory is that Eton College had Apple trees growing by a wall near the road.  Platoons from Windsor exercised there and Juliana threw apples to the men.

After Eton, Juliana moved to a Market Garden in Datchet where she worked very hard growing produce for Covent Garden.  The girls started very early cutting Lettuces, packing them 9 to a box and carrying 3 boxes at a time to stack.  Juliana could only carry 2 and, despite being quicker overall than the others, was punished by having to wash radishes in cold running water.  Radishes have a sting under the leaves and she ended up with very swollen fingers!  The Privy was in a field and was disgusting. Juliana complained until an Elsan toilet was put in; she was then told it was her job to empty it!  This didn't happen.

Juliana was then moved to Slough to a large private house owned by Mrs. Tiptree of Tiptree Jams.  There was a farm next door and in her time off, Juliana helped to stack sheaves on a wagon.  One day the sirens went when she was on top of the wagon and a Doodlebug came over and stopped.  Everyone ran off, knocking the ladder over and leaving Juliana stranded.  Fortunately, the bomb landed on the Trading Estate.

Juliana remembers that the Land Army overcoats were really nice and she was issued with 3 for some reason.  She also remembers being inspected by Princess Marina, who was very pleasant.  Juliana met Justin, her future husband, at a dance at Windsor Barracks in 1943.  Justin was a Guards Officer who courted Juliana successfully and they were married on June 2nd 1944.  He had to have his Commanding Officer's consent as he was under 25; he was only 20 and Juliana 21.  Everyone said the marriage wouldn't last; they were wrong.  Justin and Juliana lived happily at Bredy Farm until Justin's death, 4 years ago just 6 weeks short of their 67th Wedding Anniversary.

Compiled by Susan Moores - May 2015

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