Land Army Day

Two residents from one of our Suffolk Care Homes were the inspiration for a very special day last month.

Rendlesham Care Home residents, Gwen Watson & Sybil Giles were both in the Land Army and had many tales to tell about what life was like when millions of men went off to fight in the war.

The Women’s Land Army was set up in 1939 and within two years, it had over 1,000 members.  By 1941, numbers had risen to 20,000 and at the peak in 1943 over 80,000 women classed themselves as ‘Land Girls’.

The work was tough and the women did all sorts of jobs including hoeing, ploughing, hedging, turning hay, lifting potatoes, threshing, lambing and looking after poultry. A thousand women were employed as rat catchers. Six thousand women worked in the Timber Corps, felling trees and running sawmills. About a quarter were employed in milking and general farm work.

Some of the women lived in hostels but most lived on individual farms. Conditions were often poor and pay was low but many women enjoyed the work with the Women’s Land Army remaining in existence until 1950.

To really set the theme for the day, the homes chef prepared a special ‘British’ meal with the residents enjoying a starter of pea and ham soup followed by a choice of Steak and Ale pie, braised lamb shank or salmon and broccoli fish cakes.  Dessert was either apple crumble with ‘hokey pokey’ ice cream or sherry trifle.

Gwen and Sybil had a fantastic day of reminiscing and it was especially interesting for some of the younger Care Workers to hear about life in the war.

As a special touch, the home’s chef Andrew added a poem to the bottom of the menu written in the style of William Shakesphere and celebrating the ‘Hokey Cokey’.

‘O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke — banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, ’tis what it’s all about.’

Located by Rendlesham Forest on the outskirts of the village, Rendlesham Care Centre is one of Caring Homes’ newest care homes in Suffolk, offering state of the art residential, nursing and specialist dementia care for up to 60 elderly people.


Rendlesham Care Centre

Home Manager

Joanne Rix


Suffolk Drive,
IP12 2TP

0808 223 5531
View care home

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