Land Girls are disappointed by certificates

PUBLISHED: 19:22 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:51 11 May 2010

KATHLEEN PEACHEY 3088DW001

KATHLEEN PEACHEY 3088DW001

TWO former Women s Land Army (WLA) members say they are disappointed that the certificates they have been given for their wartime service do not feature their names. Since January, more than 30,000 WLA veterans, or Land Girls as they were known, have appl

LILY WILLMOTT

TWO former Women's Land Army (WLA) members say they are disappointed that the certificates they have been given for their wartime service do not feature their names.

Since January, more than 30,000 WLA veterans, or Land Girls as they were known, have applied for badges of honour and certificates, after the Government agreed to officially recognise their contribution to Britain's Second World War effort.

But the certificates and badges do not carry individual veterans' names and this has upset some women.

Kathleen Peachey, 81, of Icknield Walk, Royston, served in the WLA between 1944 and 1948, and worked on farms in Dorset, Barnet, and Reed.

Of her time as a Land Girl, Mrs Peachey said: "I loved it immensely."

But when her certificate arrived, Mrs Peachey was so upset, she called a local radio station to complain.

The station interviewed Defra minister Jonathan Shaw live on air.

Mrs Peachey said: "I am very disappointed with the certificate. There's nothing on there to say it is mine.

"They (Defra) didn't expect so many girls to apply and Mr Shaw said it would have taken a long time to get the names put on the certificates.

"My reply was, we've waited 60 years, so another year wouldn't have hurt, would it?"

Lily Willmott, also 81, of Jubilee Way, Steeple Morden, joined the Land Army in 1944, and worked as a dairymaid at Morden Grange farm.

Mrs Willmott, who is originally from Manchester, said: "We used to milk the cows early in the morning, and then we used to take the milk up to Ashwell station.

"It was really hard work, but I had a happy time.

"I am pleased to get the certificate and badge, but a little disappointed that my name isn't on the certificate."

A spokesman for Defra said: "We believe the badge of honour and certificate is a fitting tribute to those who served in the Women's Land Army.

"More than 30,000 women have received this recognition and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

"We did examine the possibility of personalising the certificates, but the logistics of doing so would have held up the distribution of the badge of honour, and from the feedback we had received, we felt it was important that the veterans should receive their badges as soon as possible."

Other Land Girls who received certificates included Joyce Howard, 88, of Chiswick End, Meldreth, who served in the WLA between 1941 and 1946, and Lilian Bonfield, 81, of Blacksmiths Lane, Reed, who served from 1947-1948.

Mrs Howard worked on a fruit farm in Meldreth, and represented the Land Army at the Allied Victory Parade in London in 1946.

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