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Lumberjills: Britain's Forgotten Army
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Lumberjills: Britain's Forgotten Army (Paperback)

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Synopsis

When war was declared in 1939, Britain was almost completely dependent on imported timber - but only had seven months of it stockpiled. Timber was critical to the war effort: it was needed for everything from aircraft and shipbuilding to communications and coal mining. The British timber trade was in trouble.

Enter the Lumberjills.

Lacking in both men and timber, the government made a choice. Reluctantly, they opened lumber work for women to apply - and apply they did. The Women's Timber Corps had thousands of members who would prove themselves as strong and as smart as any man: they felled and crosscut trees by hand, operated sawmills, and ran whole forestry sites. They may not have been on the front line, but they fought their own battles on the home front for respect and equality. And in the midst of heavy labour and wartime, they lived a life, making firm friends and even finding soulmates. In Lumberjills, researcher Joanna Foat tells their story for the first time, and gives them the recognition they so truly deserve.

JOANNA FOAT discovered the story of the Lumberjills while she was a PR consultant for the Forestry Commission. After four years' research, travelling the country to meet over sixty Lumberjills, she discovered many of these women were upset they had received no recognition for their war work. She has worked with the Daily Mail, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour and BBC TV, and also does talks on the subject. She lives in Surrey.

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