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First Permanent Memorial to Women’s Land Army Gets Royal Seal of Approval

The women who fed the nation and its armed forces during two Worlds Wars were recognised when HRH Prince Charles, The Duke of Rothesay, unveiled the first permanent memorial dedicated to the Women’s Land Army.

The memorial, unveiled by the Duke at Clochan, Fochabers today (Tues 8 October) was erected by the Land Army Memorial Scotland (LAMS) Charitable Trust.

Formed three years ago, the Trust has been instrumental in the process of raising funds, identifying an appropriate site and having the memorial commissioned. The Trust was thrilled that Prince Charles agreed to unveil the memorial, recognising the debt of gratitude the nation owes to the work of the Women’s Land Army.

The desire to see a memorial to the work of the WLA in Scotland started in 2009, when then NFU Scotland President, Jim McLaren, set up a committee to oversee the fund-raising needed in order to commission and erect the memorial. Mr McLaren’s mother, Mrs Janie McLaren, had served in the Women’s Land Army and met his father on the farm where she worked.
 
The memorial, designed by Yorkshire artist Peter Naylor, is sited on reclaimed farmland near Fochabers, donated by The Crown Estate. The metal piece features a group of enthusiastic young Land Girls sitting on a farmgate, waving and leaning into each other, as they overlook the Moray coast.

Jim McLaren, chairman of LAMS, said:
 “After years of fund raising, it is fantastic to be finally unveiling the memorial to the work of the Women’s Land Army in Scotland.  To have Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay perform the unveiling ceremony was tremendous, and we are hugely appreciative of his support.
 
"The Women's Land Army contributed so much to the efforts of the nation during both the first and second World Wars.  A memorial to recognise that is long overdue.  With most of the men away to war, and the Government expecting British agriculture to produce more than ever before, a solution to the labour crisis was desperately needed. Young women took on the role with cheerful demeanour and worked long and hard on our farms to feed the nation.

"There are so many people to thank for making this memorial a reality, but along with the many individuals, organisations and companies who have contributed so generously financially, I would like to thank particularly the Crown Estate. It has not only donated the land for the memorial but also much of the work required preparing and clearing the site. They have also offered their assistance in maintaining the site over the coming years. Without this generous offer, we would not be in the privileged position we are today."

Alison Nimmo, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate, said:
“The Crown Estate is delighted to have been involved with this project by providing a site for the memorial. As a rural land owner with farming interests throughout the UK, we have strong links with our agricultural heritage and have been very pleased to play a part in commemorating the contribution made by the Women’s Land Army, during the two World Wars.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Photographs of the unveiling and the memorial are available on request from Sarah Anderson, tel. 0131 472 4108 or 07920 018619, sarah.anderson@nfus.org.uk or Karen Carruth tel. 07947 065020, karencarruth@gmail.com.
  • The Land Army Memorial Scotland (LAMS) charitable trust was established in 2009 with the sole purpose of establishing a permanent monument to the work of the Women’s Land Army in Scotland. Funds to allow the memorial to be commissioned were gleaned from donations from private individuals and major commercial donors as well as fund raising events across the country.
  • The artist commissioned to design and build the sculpture was Peter Naylor, whose previous work included the '158 Bomber Command' memorial.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

  • The Women's Land Army (WLA), often referred to as 'The Forgotten Army', was formed in 1917 by Roland Prothero, the then Minister of Agriculture. Around 20,000 women were drafted to work on the land to maintain food production.
  • At the outbreak of World War Two, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries took over the organisation of the WLA under the honorary leadership of Lady Denman. At its peak, there were more than 80,000 members of the WLA. It was disbanded in 1950.
  • In addition to helping to feed the nation, the Land Girls enabled the country's farms to be kept in good working order during the wars.
  • The Lumberjills, whose efforts have already been commemorated on a site at Aberfoyle, produced timber for energy and manufacturing.
  • Until now, no permanent monument to the Land Girls' contribution and achievements has been erected in the UK. Many former Land Girls received commemorative medals from the UK Government in 2007.
  • For more information or to arrange an interview with a former Land Girl, please contact Sarah Anderson on 07920 018619 or Karen Carruth on 07947 065020.

Ends

Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 117/12


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