Joanna Foat arrived looking like she’s stepped out of a recent episode of ‘Allo, Allo’.  Swiftly she had us enthralled with a talk about the Women’s Timber Corps especially as some of these trail blazing women operated in the New Forest.  Their  lumberjill history began with the Government’s realisation, at the start of WW2, that the country did not have a  sufficient supply of timber nor strong men to cut down trees.  In stepped thousands of women who proved they could fell and crosscut trees by hand, operate sawmills and run forestry sites as well as the men.  Unlike today, no protective gear or risk assessments but a uniform was created for these strong minded women and modelled by Joanna.

Joanna has written two books on the subject and interviewed many of the WW2 lumberjills about their exciting life in the forest.  BEWI had organised this event for the Ringwood Group of WIs.  As well as the fascinating talk, excellent cakes and coffee were served.  Ann Hayden, BEWI president thanked everyone for their help in making the afternoon a success.