A DIARY OF ELEANOR (NELL) JAMES – A LAND GIRL.
My name is Nell James and in WW2 I served as a land girl in Tregaron, Ceredigion. My dad had moved from Lampeter to Silver Terrace in Burry Port and he worked as a miner in the Gwendraeth Valley. Mam worked in the Tinplate Works and I went to the Copperworks School.
1939 As a family we had been breeding champion whippets and I was offered a job in exclusive breeding kennels in Essex, but the war came which changed everything and I turned the job down.
June 30th 1943 I have joined the Woman’s Land Army now that I am eighteen and am to go to John Evans’ farm.
July 12th 1943 Arrived at Jack Evans farm where I am going to do my training. My first job was cleaning out the pigs. I am looking forward to getting my uniform.
August 1943 I have moved up the valley now to my long term posting. The farmer’s name is Jack Evans too, but he goes by the name Sioni. I am enjoying life here although the work is very hard. Up early and we work seven days a week; time off depends on the markets. We churn the butter and take it along with eggs and whatever sheep or cattle are to be sold. There is no electricity here and no running water. We have to carry the water a quarter of a mile back to the house. We have a Ferguson tractor and two horses, One, a mare called Poll, used to herd the sheep on the mountain, and a gelding called Scott. Thank goodness for our bicycles it is a three mile walk to Tregaron where the fun is to be had in the evenings. There is a boy there, Ivor, but I do not get many dances as he is the drummer in the band!
October 1948 Exciting news in the post today! I have had an invitation to represent Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire the Harvest Festival in Westminster Abbey.
November 1st 1948 It was a very memorable day and I wrote an account for the County newsletter.
22nd November 1948 Today I received my release papers. It is hard to believe I have been in the Land Army for five and a half years.
July 2008 After the war:
The Women’s Land Army was disbanded and never received the recognition it deserved. In 1991 it was named as part of the war effort for the first time. Many petitioned for the amazing work the Land Army Girls had done to be recognised and rewarded. In July 2008 all those surviving Land Girls were given this certificate.
Nell married Ivor and she returned to live in Burry Port.
Compiled by Ellen Davies January 2023
Information provided by Emrys Davies, Nell’s son
Many thanks to Shelly Godfrey Coles for the introductions to Emrys Davies