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Land girl Betty Craig’s story, part 6

Betty Craig-6: Duration 4:14

[HB] So what did you do about food and entertainment at the weekends then? 

Well, at the weekend we would go into Gramoli’s Café and have egg and chips. I’ll tell you, Campbeltown had the best fish suppers that ever was there ’cause it was always such good, fresh fish. And I can remember working in Kildalloig and wondered what on earth the bang was and it was the navy out near Davarr Island and they would drop a depth charge. Not for any sinking of a submarine, but all the fish came up and it was the easiest way to catch fish! It didn’t kill the fish, but they could just lift them easily. But Davarr Island that was an island off the coast and at low tide you could walk over there.

[HB] Did you do that quite a lot? 

We did that a few times and I remember that there’s a painting on the wall of Jesus. It was quite a famous one.

[HB] On the wall of the . . . 

On the wall, in the cave, there was a cave, yeah, in the cave in Davarr Island.

[HB] Apart from seeing the troops doing their training on the beach, did you see any other or come across any other kind of action with the war? 

No . . . we did see the fire across in Greenock when it was badly bombed. And that was the sugar factory and things like that had gone on fire. And, when I got back home again, I must’ve been in the ARP because I remember having my wellingtons, my stirrup pump and things ready that if you were called out you were ready to get out in the middle of the night!

[HB] What, what does ARP mean? 

Air Raid Precaution!

[HB] Right! So, when you were working in Dhalling Mhor were you living in Dhalling Mhor or were you living . . . ? 

No, I was living at home. Yes, ’cause it was just along the street. It was a cushy number.

[HB] And how long were you at Dhalling Mhor for? 

Well I went there . . . 1944 till 1947.

[HB] Oh so you where there for the rest of your time. 

I was there, yes, the rest of my time.

[HB] Would you start at the same time there, seven in the morning? 

Probably eight . . . because it was different. You had to get out early if you were going to farms because they were in all different parts of Kintyre. There was . . . names I don’t even remember even in my wee diary. But you were maybe travelling quite a bit. You would travel maybe up the way to Carradale or through the way to Machrihanish and that was where the Air Force where, in Machrihanish. That was the Fleet Air Arm that where there. 

[HB] I remember last time we talked you were talking about your gloves. 

Yes, that was when you were shawin’ the neaps. I had started out with a pair of leather gloves. And they were all different. I don’t know where I got the little patches of leather, but they were all sewn with leather. But that was the one thing you really needed the gloves for. That was something that they never thought to issue you with.

[HB] Did you have to buy your own? 

Yeah, you would have to buy your own gloves. I suppose nobody used gloves on the farm in those days.

[HB] Where did your uniform come from? Did it come from London? 

Probably Glasgow or even Auchincruive, that was the agricultural place and there, there was a lot of Land Girls there.

[HB] So what was the, all the stuff you were growing in Dhalling Mhor where was that going? Was that just for staying in the guesthouse or was that for . . . 

It was. Yes, but I think some of it was sold. And I think we sold apples and tomatoes, extra things. I think they were sold and it just went back into the garden. There was a fire in the, the big shed and in the winter time we had a big piece of iron full of holes and you piled the soil onto it. Now, that would be any soil that had been used and it was steamed right through so that killed off any germs or anything that was in it and that was beautifully clean soil ready for the tomatoes and whatever you were growing in the greenhouse.

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