Nov 09, 2016
Jane Harris – known as Nellie - who now lives at Colne View, joined the Women’s Land Army (WLA) in World War II aged 19, and served for four years from 1942 to 1946 in Harrogate, Yorkshire, where she grew up.
The WLA was set up during the First World War and was re-established in 1939, as the prospect of a second world war became increasingly likely. The WLA was created so women could work – primarily in agriculture - to replace the men who had been called to war.
During her time in the WLA, Nellie worked on a dairy farm where her daily tasks included: milking the cows, mucking out the animals and tending to the allotments. She was the only girl on the farm at the time, but she was able to socialise with other young people in the area at regular village dances.
At night Nellie would lie awake hearing the Lancaster Bombers flying overhead on their way to bomb Germany, returning at around four o’clock in the morning. To occupy her mind she taught herself how to knit and put together clothing for the soldiers.
“Before the war, Nellie worked in a solicitor’s office and then in the Post Office engineering department which is now BT. Here she met her late husband, John, a former air ministry engineer.
Nellie, who has been living at Colne View since 2013, was presented the award by Steve Arundell, a military veteran. Friends and family joined residents and WWII re-enactors at the care home on Dame Mary Walk for the presentation.
Omar Taylor, home manager at Colne View, said: “When we heard the government was to recognise those who served in the Women’s Land Army during the war, we were delighted – it’s only right she receives the recognition she deserves after all these years.
“We had a great day celebrating Nellie’s achievements with her loved ones and all the residents here at Colne View. On behalf of everyone I would like to thank Steve Arundell for presenting Nellie with the medal.”
Dame Mary Walk, Colchester Road, Halstead, Essex, CO9 2FF
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