Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Women’s Land Army Memorial for Fochabers

From today's Press & Journal

Estate will host memorial to members of wartime Female ‘soldiers’ who played a crucial role in keeping Scotland farming, and in food, during the grim years of world war 11

By Joe Watson Published: 29/03/2011

A PERMANENT memorial to the women who kept Britain farming and in food during World War II is to be erected in Moray. The Crown Estate has donated land in its Fochabers estate to the Land Army Memorial Scotland, a charity set up nearly two years ago to fund the tribute.

It has raised nearly £40,000 and is now in the closing stages of selecting a sculptor. The Women’s Land Army and its 8,000 Scottish “soldiers” – better known as the Land Girls – played a crucial role in the dark years between 1939 and 1945. They worked on farms, taking the place of men who were called up to serve king and country in the fight against Hitler and the Nazis. During World War II, the ‘army’ nationally had more than 80,000 members – four times as many as during the Great War. It was disbanded in 1950.

The new memorial addresses a longstanding anomaly as there is no Scottish tribute to the Land Girls, just one for the Women’s Timber Corps at Aberfoyle. Up to now, the only recognition of the Women’s Land Army – often referred to as the forgotten army – was a medal awarded in 2006.

The memorial group includes representatives of NFU Scotland, the Crown Estate, National Museums Scotland and NFU Mutual, as well as former Land Girl Mona McLeod. Among the instigators of the appeal was immediate past NFU Scotland president Jim McLaren, whose mother, Janie, Crown Estate head of countryside management Andrew Wells said his organisation looked forward to seeing the project come to fruition and the memorial being erected.

Mr McLaren said donations to the appeal were still welcome and could be made through Sarah Anderson at NFU Scotland on 0131 472 4108.

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