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Holding the Home Front (Hardback)

The Women's Land Army in The First World War

WWI Home Front in WWI Women of History

By Caroline Scott
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 214
ISBN: 9781783831128
Published: 16th January 2017


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  • Check out Caroline's author article featured on Warfare Magazine! Discover extracted images from her new book and delve further into the History behind the Women's Land Army in the First World War.



  • As featured by Mail Online - Britain's Iron Maidens: Within days of the outbreak of the First World War thousands joined the Women's Land Army and headed to the fields in the vital fight to fuel the nation from the Home Front

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In recent years the Second World War’s Land Girl has caught the public imagination. We’ve seen her in films and television series and novels. We might be misremembering her, we might have distorted her image into one that suits a twenty-first century audience, but we haven’t forgotten. Other things have been forgotten, though. One could be forgiven for supposing that the story of the Women’s Land Army starts in 1939. But it’s a much older and more complicated history…

British agricultural policy during the First World War was held up as a success story; coming through a ‘great national emergency’, domestic food production was higher at the end of the war than at the start, the average calorific value of the British diet barely changed and bread never had to be rationed here. As the press reported starvation and food riots overseas, the 1918 harvest was held up as ‘one of the great achievements of the War.’

In 1917, at the darkest hour, when Britain’s food security looked most precarious, it was said that, ‘If it were not for the women agriculture would be absolutely at a standstill on many farms.’ Is that true? Were women really keeping the wheels turning? Using previously unpublished accounts and photographs, this book is an attempt to understand how the return of women to the fields and farmyards impacted agriculture - and, in turn, an examination of how that experience affected them.

This is the story of the First World War’s forgotten land army.

Author article featured in

WDYTYA? Magazine - November 2016

Author article featured on Warfare Magazine.

Caroline Scott, author article for Warfare Magazine

Just finished Holding the Home Front: Wonderful research on forgotten aspect of WW1 history. One of best books read this year!

Connie Ruzich, Twitter

A well-researched book covering the 1860s to 1930s, mainly focused on 1914-19. The book describes the state of agriculture before the First World War, which is necessary to understand the following chapters. It then gives an insight into the different phases of the Women's Land Army and the difficulties faced by those wishing to volunteer.

The many quotes from land girls give a glimpse into their daily lives and the attitudes of their employers. However, as the author states: "We can only hear the voices of the village women second-hand." The accounts are mainly from educated women, rather than local women returning to the work of their recent ancestors. This gives a slightly one-sided view although still highly insightful.

The book also highlights the changing role of women and how until 1917, with the change in government and increasing food shortages, there was real opposition to women returning to the land.

Highly relevant for those with ancestors in the Land Army or interest in the Home Front during the First World War.

WDYTYA? Magazine, April 2017 - reviewed by WDYTYA? reader Margaret Watson

The author has written a warm view of the WWI Land Girls who have been largely forgotten by history. The Great War needed women to be mobilised in large numbers to make up for the loss of men,
creating a revolution in society. The role of women in agriculture was a key part of that story. Much Recommended

Read the full review here.


When one thinks of the Land Girls, one almost certainly thinks of their contribution to the darkest days of the Second World War, whereas in fact, there was a women's land army in full flow during the first world war too. Caroline's wonderful book sets the record straight with beautiful illustrations and witting testimony from people who were there and saw how hard these wonderful women worked to keep Britain going during their darkest hours. Superb.

Books Monthly

As featured by

Antiques Diary, May – June 2017

As featured in.

The Daily Mail 19/4/17

About Caroline Scott

CAROLINE SCOTT is originally from Lancashire. She has a PhD in History, a fascination with the First World War and a house full of khaki-coloured bric-a-brac. In addition to Those Measureless Fields, she is currently working on two non-fiction projects for Pen and Sword – a history of the Women’s Land Army during the First World War and a book about the Manchester ‘Bantam’ Battalion. Caroline lives in France and possesses more trench art than is probably tasteful.

Perfect Partner

Public Schools and The Great War (Hardback)

In this pioneering and original book, Anthony Seldon and David Walsh study the impact that the public schools had on the conduct of the Great War, and vice versa. Drawing on fresh evidence from 200 leading public schools and other archives, they challenge the conventional wisdom that it was the public school ethos that caused needless suffering on the Western Front and elsewhere. They distinguish between the younger front-line officers with recent school experience and the older 'top brass' whose mental outlook was shaped more by military background than by memories of school. The Authors argue…

By Anthony Seldon, David Walsh

Click here to buy both titles for £40.99
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