Vignette: Lumberjills of WWII—The Women’s Timber Corps


‘Jack and Jill went up the hill…’  If this took place in Britain’s woodlands during WWII and if Jill was a Lumberjill, then she wouldn’t be in search of water but of trees to fell, load onto trucks, and drive to the nearby sawmills.

Their uniforms comprised boots and jodhpurs or dungarees, their weapons were saws and axes. The women of Britain’s Women’s Timber Corps, known informally as lumberjills, came together with the formation of the WTC in 1942. The patron was Queen Elizabeth (mother of Queen Elizabeth II). See C. Surry’s post The Lumberjills of WWII.

Since the WTC was part of the (better known) Women’s Land Army, there was little recognition after the war had ended. A war memorial specifically honouring the WTC was eventually put in place at the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in Scotland: a life-sized bronze statue that shows a lumberjill looking, axe in hand, towards the distant tree tops. Women’s Timber Corps Memorial.

Addressing the need for women to become strenuously involved in war work, British trade union leader and the then Minister of Labour, Ernest Bevin, famously remarked: “It would be better to suffer temporarily than to be in perpetual slavery to the nazis.”

Good for you Ernie. You got that exactly right.

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