I am delighted to announce that the Government has decided to acknowledge the contribution made by the Women’s Land Army and the Women’s Timber Corps by means of a badge which will be presented to veterans next year. This is in recognition of the important role these women played, not only in feeding the nation, but also in providing timber for vital industries, such as mining and aircraft manufacture. It is important that we never forget the sacrifices that were made both at home and abroad during the war. The badge will be a fitting commemoration of the work of the WLA in supporting the war effort.
Originally formed during World War I, the Women’s Land Army was re-formed shortly after the outbreak of World War II to work on the land, so releasing male workers to go to war. By 1943 there were 80,000 women working in every aspect of agriculture, and also in the timber industry. The work was often physically demanding and for long hours. The WLA remained in existence until 1950, when it was disbanded. Members were granted a certificate signed by HM Queen Elizabeth in recognition of their service. Over the last 60 years, the women have campaigned strenuously for more formal recognition of their efforts.
Details of how to apply for a badge will be announced early in the new year.