The Lumber Jills, Heroines of WW II
As Britain declared war on Germany and the men were off to fight, a labor shortage grew and the demand for timber needed for ships, rails to be used for D-Day, and telegraph poles would fall to the women. The Women's Timber Corp(1942-1946) was enacted with volunteers all over England, Scotland, and Wales. Thousands of women joined and learned to drive tractors, learn to crosscut, chop down trees and, hauled logs to the wagons. They learned to operate sawmills for sawing the trunks according to measured lengths.
It should be noted than during WW I, the WLA (1917-1919 and again 1939-1950) and was primarily for agriculture by shearing sheep, planting potatoes helped on dairy farms and plowed fields. All this to supply food to save on imports and to feed the army.
It was heavy work and dangerous. Uniforms were issued for the women consisting of jerseys, riding breeches, coats, dungarees, shirts, boots, shoes, beret, overcoat, and two towels. For the most part, they slept in temporary huts with the barest of sanitation. Some local farmers would offer their baths for the women to soothe their calloused and sore bodies and they were extremely grateful for this act of kindness.
Recognition of the Lumber Jills
It would take years before even the first note of public recognition would be known to the public. It wasn't until 2000 that former members were allowed to participate in the Armed Remembrance Sunday Parade in London. In 2007, the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Offices were acknowledged. Finally, surviving members would be issued a badge commemorating the Corps.
In the year 2007, a memorial was unveiled of a large bronze sculpture and stood in the Queen Elizabeth Park near Aberfoyle, Stirling. The unveiling of a statue honoring both the WLA and the WTC. It stands in the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire.
The WTC disbanded in 1946, and each volunteer got a letter from Queen Elizabeth with gratitude for their service. The women desired to keep their uniforms as a memento of their service, but this was denied to them. As a result, Lady Gertrude Denman, the honorary director of the WLA, resigned because of the denial. The women were paid .33-46 shillings per week. Yet at the disbanding of the Corps, they received no pension or any other benefits.
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on September 26, 2020:
Thanks for reading. I agree with your comment.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:
I have never heard the term "Lumber Jills" before. Thank you for creating this interesting and informative article, Fran.
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on September 25, 2020:
Thanks for your visit. They believed in doing their duty for the good of the country and, as you say, courageous.
Rosina S Khan on September 25, 2020:
An interesting piece of history regarding The Lumber Jills, Heroines of WW II. I do admire them for their courage and hard work. Good job, Fran.