Land Girl Betty Craig’s story, part 3
Now, were where we . . .
[HB] We were talking about the pay you were getting.
Oh, yes, yes. I was made the leader. I must have been a bossy boots. I asked if we could use the cars on a Saturday to take us into Campbeltown, that kind of thing that I had to do as a leader. And then I once called a strike. That was one Saturday. We’d been working in the morning on Kildalloig Estate that belonged to Sir Phillip Dundas and we wanted off. It was a lovely day and we were looking forward to it. And the girls decided they didn’t want to work so I had to tell Sir Phillip that we weren’t working that afternoon. And he said “Alright.” So before we left he had brought in a lovely bunch of sailors and we had to get off the field and they came on the field.
[HB] How many of you had to work on the land, because it must have been . . . it must’ve taken a lot of people?
It did! Of course, that’s why the Land Army had to be formed, because the men were all called up and there was a lot of men worked on the farms.
[HB] So, were there a lot of you in the hostel?
I think at one time there might have been maybe, sixteen. I don’t remember . . . I know that we were cold; we had blankets, but not enough. So we had kept a clean green jersey to keep us warm in bed. But I don’t remember having to share bedrooms. I think it had been a shootin’ lodge and there was quite a few rooms in it. And if there was two of us maybe that was it.
[HB] And did you all go out on the same jobs each day or did you get spilt up and sent out to different farms?
I think we all went out on the same job each day and some days we were at the same place for quite a few days. If we’re, maybe if you were lifting potatoes or something like that you would be there for a while. The likes of the harvest you might have been, maybe two or three days and usually the men that were still working on the farms, they were roped into each farm to come and help at the harvest. Of course, in the good weather it makes such a difference. I do remember one of the horrible days when we were spreading dung. We were right next to where the Navy were and the chap that was on sentry duty brought us this chocolate, hot chocolate. And it was, it was so strong, but it was so nice and warm; we were pleased. I don’t know how he got it through the fencing but he did!
[HB] Do you know which . . . which unit of the Navy it was, that was there?
Well, in Campbeltown there was tugboats that went out with the convoys, went across to America, a Samsonia, they were big tugboats. And then they had the Air-Sea Rescue which was the RAF and they had, they must have had some of the ordinary . . . boats too, destroyers or something like that. I just don’t remember. I know there was a lot of navy there and there was a, a NAFFI canteen that we used to; if you got soaked you sort of stopped off there, had a cup of tea or something and dried yourself off in front of the electric heaters which was a bad thing to do. Standing there with your wet dungarees getting them . . . dried off. Now I’ve forgotten to tell you; we didn’t have any training like the books say. I remember that we went to Glasgow for a medical which everybody would have to pass. After the medical I went to this first farm and my training was; a bucket of hot water, a clean cloth to go and wash the udders of the cow before you put the . . . the . . . connections, I’ve forgotten what you’d call them anyway, onto the cow to be milked. And that was me, first day in my nice clean overalls and this cow’s christened me right down my overalls. That was my training. It was easy for me. I, I was an athletic type I was fond o’ the garden. But the girls that were in the hostel came from all over the place, lots of them from the town. And the town girls wouldn’t have known a carrot from a turnip because they only bought them in the shops as the root and never saw the top. But they were very adaptable.