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26 JULY 2012 NEWS RELEASE No: 15569

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Calling all lumberjills

The search is on for "Lumberjills" who may have worked in forests in the South of England during the Second World War.  The Forestry Commission is seeking to uncover the history of the Women’s Timber Corps on its 70-year anniversary.
 
More than 8,000 young women from all over Britain left home, many for the first time, and were posted out into forests to carry out the heavy work of felling and crosscutting trees by hand.  They also measured logs, as well as loading timber onto trucks and driving vehicles.
 
The Women's Timber Corps was set up in 1942 as an off-shoot of the Land Army, were from all backgrounds and dressed in distinctive uniforms filling in for men away fighting. Their efforts were crucial in helping to supply desperately needed timber to the war-time economy. 
 
Pam Warhurst, Chair of Forestry Commission England, added: 

“The great efforts of our Lumberjills must be one of the last unrecognised stories of the Second World War. We forget how vital timber was to the war effort and yet so little is known about the women who kept the nation's forestry working. I am extremely grateful to projects like this which are striving to gather information before it slips from our collective memory.”

Libby Burke, Communications manager for the Forestry Commission, said:

“The work of the Lumberjills is an important part of the history of our forests in the South of England, but very little is known about them.  Their stories will help us recognise their contribution to the war and write this forgotten chapter in history.”

Project chiefs hope to record stories and experiences from people that come forward and plan to create a website with transcriptions of memories and donated images to celebrate the contribution of the Lumberjills.
 
If you or a member of your family served in the Women’s Timber Corps please contact Jo Spouncer on 07828 762045 or email jo.spouncer@forestry.gov.uk
 
Note to Editor
 
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For more visit www.forestry.gov.uk
 
Media calls to Jo Spouncer on 07828 762045.