In Britain during the First World War, Pictures there was a shortage of farm labour as men were conscripted into the forces. There was also a need to grow more food due to the threat to supplies caused by German submarines. This led to the establishment of the Women’s Land Army in February 1917.
By 1918, there were over 113,000 women working on the land. Female labour alone was still not enough to meet the shortfall in agricultural labour. Prisoners of war were also sometimes used, often working alongside land girls.
As these images show, women were employed in a wide range of roles, from dairy work to hard manual labour such as ploughing, flax pulling and felling trees.
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Join The Women’s Land Army
Recruitment poster for the Women’s Land Army, 1917.
Roles Include Caring For Animals
A member of the Women’s Land Army leads a horse from the stables on a farm during the First World War.
Working In The Fields
A member of the Women’s Land Army operating a single-furrow plough on a British farm during the First World War.
A member of the Women’s Land Army milking a cow.
Working With Prisoners Of War
The Women’s Land Army and German Prisoners, 1918, by Randolph Schwabe.
Members of the Women’s Land Army feeding pigs and calves in an orchard.
A Land Girl Ploughing, 1918, by Cecil Aldin.
Members of the Women’s Land Army Forestry Corps.
The Shepherdess, by Randolphe Schwabe.
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Recruitment poster for the Women’s Land Army, 1918.