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Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 11:57 UK
Back to the Land
Women of the Land Army in 1941.

Born at a time of great national need, the Land Army used spades, forks and tractors to keep Britain fed.

Now its work is to be celebrated in a major new show in the county at its core.

The Land Army - 75,000 strong at its peak - took over in the fields from men who had gone off to fight.

The exhibition at Brighton Museum, 'Cinderellas of the Soil' runs from 3rd October 2009 to 14th March 2010.

The Land Army in Sussex
The first leader of the Land Army was Lady Denman of Balcombe, Sussex.
The Land Army HQ was at Balcombe Place
Land Girls were trained at Plumpton College

'We're girls, girls of the land are we,
When working we're happy and free,
We work for its pleasure,
We've no time for leisure,
So join the Land Army.'

The song that led the land girls is a breezy, optimistic tune which clearly shows the energy of the thousands who gave up their home lives to fight for Britain in the fields of Sussex.

A member of the Land Army
Many friendships made in the Land Army have lasted ever since.

Behind it was hugely hard work and long hours on a salary inferior to male counterparts with jobs including milking, rat catching, threshing and tractor driving.

The exhibition 'Cinderellas of the Soil' at Brighton Museum will feature Land Girls' personal stories, propaganda, paintings, posters and photographs.

It also looks at its strong local connections - the headquarters was at Balcombe Place, training was at Plumpton Agricultural College, and Land Girls lived and worked on the Sussex Downs.

The Land Girls defeated their critics. The National Farmers Union, which had been sceptical about the arrival of the Land Army in 1939, was unhappy to see it go when it finally disbanded in 1950.

In the final ceremony at Buckingham Palace the Queen said: 'I have always admired their courage in responding so readily to a call which they knew must bring them ... hardship and sometimes loneliness. Now the time has come to say goodbye, because the job has been done, but the sadness which many feel should be outweighed by pride in the achievement.'

Watch out for a series of special features on the Land Army in Sussex on BBC Sussex over the next few weeks.

Plus, if you were a Land Girl during the 1939-45 war, then please get in touch with us and tell your story. Email sussex@bbc.co.uk.

Honouring the war's Land Girls
15 Feb 08 |  Wales
Land girls to receive medals
16 Apr 08 |  England

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