Wyatt, Phyllis (b.1922)
Phyllis Wyatt’s first job was as an office junior at the bacon factory in Highbridge.  She joined the Land Army in 1941 and thoroughly enjoyed her work and life on several farms in the Brent area.  Phyllis’s father was in the Home Guard during the war and her younger sister was an ARP messenger.
Land Army girl in uniform, 1942. Land Army girl in uniform, 1942.
Sound File
Listen to Phyllis Wyatt - 1.63MB Duration 3:33 min.

AH: And what about food and food rationing?  How did that affect you?


PW: Well, I never went hungry.  I can’t remember ever feeling that, of course, things disappeared from the shops.  There was no such thing as bananas during the war; I always used to love banana sandwiches when I was a kid.  Missed that, that sort of thing.


We had an extra ration of cheese, being in the Land Army, as did my father, being a farm worker.  I forget how much we had, it was something like quarter of a pound to half a pound or something, extra week, because you were working on the land.


Being brought up in the country we always had plenty of our own vegetables and stuff, we never went short, and father used to have a gun and he’d go and shoot rabbits and things like that.  We never went short of food, and during the war, when I was in digs in East Brent we lived next door to the local butcher, with my landlady.  In fact the house we were in belonged to the local butcher so I don’t, I think we used to get a little extra there.


AH: It was through the night then that it was...?


PW: Yes, that was the main thing, when the Germans came over during the evening and the night.


AH: Yes, of course.


PW: Didn’t get so much during the day.  It was at night when the warning would go out, you’d hear the sirens going and you’d think, here they come, and they would come.  Course, being in the country they didn’t drop many bombs around us, it was just when they jettisoned them as they’d been intercepted on the way up to Bristol or Bath or something like that. They would turn round and to make their load lighter they’d drop their bombs out anywhere irrespective and they fell on the fields or anywhere in the country.


AH: And you said your father was in the Home Guard?


PW: Father was in the Home Guard, yes.


AH: Can you tell me something about that?


PW: Yes.  They used to come to Burnham for this; there were four of them from the village, young men, and father.  Father was older than them of course, but the younger men that weren’t called up because they were farming or something like that. They were in reserved occupations and they’d go to Burnham, to the Clarence Hotel at Burnham-on-Sea, and behind the Clarence was the old stables.  It used to be an old coaching place years ago and that was their headquarters there.


They had a uniform, first of all they were LDV, Land [Local] Defence Volunteers.  They had their, I can see father now with his armband, a white armband with LDV written in black on it.  And then of course after that they were called Home Guard and they had their khaki uniforms like soldiers.  Father had his own rifle which he used to take, he always kept guns, and he had his own rifle which he used to take with him on guard duty in there.  They used to go to Uphill for practice, firing practice, firing out to sea, as they used to say ‘if only to intercept bullets instead of anyone else’.


And at the end of the war they took father’s rifle and re-rifled it, an expression they used for re-doing the barrel of it, and re-rifled it and presented it to him for using it during the war in the service of his country.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in December 1993. Photograph ©SRO. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.