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Women's Land Army Badge presented to Susan Read (Bonar Br)
Women's Land Army Badge presented to Susan Read (Bonar Br)

Susan;s first job was on a small mixed market garden/ fruit farm in Kent with much RAF/Luftwaffe activity overhead! After a year she moved to a small dairy farm with pigs, poultry, orchard, soft fruit and a large walled garden. When she first went to this farm the cows were looked after by an elderly farm worker and three girls did the rest. The man died and could not be replaced, one girl left and another got pregnant. As her husband was fighting in the Western Desert she was quietly ousted. Thus Susan found she was on her own with 8 Guernsey cows and young stock, three sows plus piglets in due season, a poultry flock and all the vegetable area to manage plus fruit to pick. Field cultivation and haymaking was done by neighbouring farmers. It is not surprising Susan describes this as "hard work and, seasonally, very long hours". In addition her employer was in the Home Guard so she used to be included in local exercises!

In 1945 when men were being demobbed Suse was able to apply for an Ex-Servicemen’s grant to go to university in October 1946 and in the interim period she moved to a large farm in Dorset where five girls and a man looked after a herd of 100 Ayrshire cows – the calves and followers being reared on a separate farm. In September 1946 Susan was discharged from the WLA and went to Reading University to do a degree in Agriculture and, in due course, she gained an appointment in the Ministry of Agriculture, with plenty of practical experience to draw on.

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Picture added on 24 June 2011 at 12:15
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