Page last updated at 07:31 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 08:31 UK

Land Girls' efforts honoured in WWII stamps

Set of stamps
The stamps mark the sacrifices made on the Home Front during World War II

By Laura Pettigrew
Lanarkshire reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Young women who left their homes to work the land and feed the nation during World War II are among those being honoured in a new set of stamps.

Royal Mail is paying tribute to the Women's Land Army, dubbed the Land Girls, with a special 1st class stamp.

It is part of a set of eight, entitled Britain Alone, which marks the sacrifices made on the Home Front.

Former land girl, Mona McLeod, 87, launched the new stamps at the National Museum of Rural Life in Lanarkshire.

In 1940, aged just 16, she put her academic aspirations and a place at university on hold and spent the next five years ploughing, sowing and digging for victory on a dairy farm in Galloway.

We hope that this collection of stamps will serve as poignant reminder of how much the country was affected by the Second World War
Ian McKay
Royal Mail

She said: "I am delighted that Royal Mail has recognised the work of the Land Girls with this wonderful first class stamp.

"We were just one of the sections of British society who made sacrifices as part of the war effort."

Elaine Edwards, senior curator at the National Museum of Rural Life, has been heavily involved in the campaign to ensure the role played by Scotland's land girls and Lumber Jills, women employed to cut timber, is recognised.

She said: "This is well overdue. These girls often left home for the first time, at a very young age, and gave up, to some extent, part of their youth to contribute to feeding the country and supplying it with timber for the troops and railways, jobs that men had traditionally been doing.

Former land girl Mona McLeod launches the Britain Alone stamps
Mona McLeod, 87, worked on a farm in Galloway during WWII

"Until relatively recently their worth really has not been recognised.

"Had it not been for these girls the nation could have potentially been in very difficult times."

In 2007 the UK government announced there was to be formal recognition of the contribution made be the Women's Land Army and Women's Timber Corps with an official badge.

An ongoing exhibition at National War Museum in Edinburgh highlights their efforts and the National Farmers Union Scotland is also currently running a campaign to raise £60,000 to build a memorial to the Scottish Land Girls.

The new stamps remember the sacrifices of the British people in 1940 when the country stood isolated after the Dunkirk evacuation.

They also feature civil defence organisations like the Home Guard, women who worked in factories, air raid wardens, and young evacuees.

Ian McKay, Scottish affairs director with Royal Mail Group said: "We hope that this collection of stamps will serve as poignant reminder of how much the country was affected by the Second World War and remind later generations of the huge contribution people like Mona McLeod made to the war effort."

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