1940s land army girl thrilled to receive special badge of honour

Dorothy Parr, who settled in the Melton area after being sent to work at Ab Kettleby with the Women's Land Army during the Second World War EMN-180905-173918001
Dorothy Parr, who settled in the Melton area after being sent to work at Ab Kettleby with the Women's Land Army during the Second World War EMN-180905-173918001
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A 94-year-old woman has been awarded a special badge as one of the few surviving members of the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War.

Dorothy Parr was sent from her home in Sheffield in 1941 to work on an Ab Kettleby farm.

Dorothy Parr, wearing her  Women's Land Army badge, with daughter Margaret Parker and son Alan Parr, who are twins EMN-180905-173929001

Dorothy Parr, wearing her Women's Land Army badge, with daughter Margaret Parker and son Alan Parr, who are twins EMN-180905-173929001

She was just 18 when she arrived with best friend Betty Richardson and she loved the country life so much she decided to stay and has lived in the Melton area ever since.

Now living in the Framland Residential Care Home in the town, Dorothy was thrilled when a family member organised for her to receive a land army badge, an honour introduced only 10 years ago to recognise the important work the women carried out in wartime.

Her daughter, Margaret Parker, said: “Mum was over the moon when she got her badge.

“She was really proud of it and she pinned it straight on her cardigan.

The Women's Land Army badge awarded to Dorothy Parr, who settled in the Melton area after being sent to work at Ab Kettleby during the Second World War EMN-180905-173940001

The Women's Land Army badge awarded to Dorothy Parr, who settled in the Melton area after being sent to work at Ab Kettleby during the Second World War EMN-180905-173940001

“She has often talked about her land army days – it was hard work from daylight to late in the evening but she really enjoyed it.”

Dorothy had also considered working in a munitions factory in her home city but wanted a healthier job on the home front with the land army, which involved 80,000 women helping to provide food for the nation.

The rural life was a bit of a culture shock for the teenager and her friend Betty, though, as they arrived for work at Manor Farm at Ab Kettleby.

Margaret (69), who lives in Melton, said: “Mum had never seen a cow before but by the end of the first day she was milking one.

“The farmer was called Archie Moore and he had been expecting two girls who were trained up to work on the farm.

“He was a bit cross at first but they learned quickly.

“The village people didn’t take to mum and Betty to start with because they thought they just wanted to find a rich man to marry.”

As it happened, the girls did meet two local men and ended up marrying them.

Dorothy and Betty went on a double date with Walter and Ron, respectively, to the Regal Cinema in King Street. They had planned to see Gone With The Wind but ended up watching another movie which Dorothy can’t remember.

Dorothy, who married in 1946 but is now a widow, has two children – Margaret and her twin brother Alan – five grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Margaret added: “Mum suffers from dementia but she has told the family lots of stories over the years about her time in the land army.

“It’s nice that she has the badge now to recognise the work she did.”