Book review: Lumberjills

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While the role of the Women’s Land Army in WWII, in freeing up men for the front by taking up manual labour jobs on farms, has been well documented and even filmed, an off-shoot of this has garnered far less attention.

Author: JOANNA FOAT

Reviewed by: Duncan Evans

 

Buy your copy here.

 

While the role of the Women’s Land Army in WWII, in freeing up men for the front by taking up manual labour jobs on farms, has been well documented and even filmed, an off-shoot of this has garnered far less attention. I’m talking about the Women’s Timber Corps which was set up to do exactly the same thing – send women out onto the land to do male jobs, freeing them up for military service. The problem here was that as hard as farm work was, being a lumberjack was much more physically taxing and downright dangerous. Joanna Foat’s book lifts the lid on the wartime experiences of those women who took up the challenge of taking on roles that were exclusively the province of men. The book includes numerous anecdotes from those who served, explaining about the uniforms, where they stayed, the work and, finally, the lack of recognition for their efforts that was only belatedly addressed.

 

The organisation of the topics is a little hit and miss, with the outright prejudice of foremen, the derision of some locals and the suspicion of housewives about their morals, coming two thirds of the way through. Still, that’s a minor point in a long-overdue and very worthy study of women in one of the most challenging roles they took up in WWII.

 

Buy your copy here.

• The History Press
• 274 pages. Paperback. £14.99

 

As Reviewed in The Armourer June 2019

 

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