Interview with Joan Smith


Interview with Joan Smith


Before the war Joan worked as a hairdresser. At 17 and a half she applied for the Land Army and was interviewed in her home town of Sheffield. Her first posting was to a farm in Fulbeck. She and about fourteen other girls stayed in a hostel with about six in a room. Their board and lodge were paid by the government and they earned about sixteen shillings a week. Some farmers did not think that girls could do the work of a man but eventually they appreciated how hard they worked. Joan remembered a group of Italian prisoners, who were hard working and courteous, working on the farm. There were also some conscientious objectors who Joan refused to work with as they were lazy and foul mouthed and there was a lot of resentment.
The girls started work at about 8.00 o’clock or half past, finishing at about 6.00. During the summer and harvest time they worked longer hours. They would mostly be weeding the fields and thinning out the crops or pulling fruit and vegetables. Joan enjoyed working with the pigs and spoke about the hard work at harvest time. After Fulbeck Joan was moved to Bourn near Selby, Yorkshire, where there was a Bomber Command station. The girls would be invited to the camp dances.
When Joan left the Land Army she went back into hairdressing until she got married. She met her husband, George, just after the war and they married two months later. George had been a navigator with 357 Squadron on B-24 flying Gurkhas from Burma to Japan. When he was demobbed, he worked as a surveyor and later volunteered at Duxford. Their daughter was in the Royal Air Force and married a flight engineer. Joan said that being in the Land Army had been hard work and miserable at times.



IBCC Digital Archive





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00:33:53 audio recording







David Kavanagh, “Interview with Joan Smith,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 14, 2021,

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