My aunt Anne Bridge lived with her parents in the little village of Pavenham, near Bedford. In 1942 she joined the "Land Army", working for Mr Tinsley of Church Farm in nearby Clapham, and continued until 1949. Organisation of the Women's Land Army began in mid 1939 intending to help maintain home-grown food supplies in the expected war but most recruits joined during or after 1942 and left in 1946. S. Antrobus has put together a history of the Bedfordshire WLA with a large archive of pictures from the records of the Bedfordshire Press. This collection of glass negatives contains two pictures of Anne taken in January 1946, which can be see here #13 and #14

The first two photographs below show Anne with her favourite horses. These have been scanned from large prints that she kept until her death; on the one showing the horse and cart she has written Flower, the name of the horse presumably. In the second picture the two horses are harnessed to a harrow, hard to see on the rough ground. My mother vividly recalled Anne bringing one of the horses (Flower, perhaps) round to our home in Bedford. When she opened the back door she found herself face to face with the horse. Anne had intended it as a surprise for me but it turned out more of a shock for my mother. I have no memory of this so I was probably still quite young, 1943 perhaps.

Anne with Flower Anne harrowing

The third of Anne's prints shows a parade for a royal visit on 14 Feb 1946, actually the first solo public engagement for the 19 year old Princess Elizabeth and intended to thank the Bedfordshire Land Girls for their contribution to the war effort. (Most of them left the service soon after.) Anne is seen driving the first of the carts from Tinsley's farm and she had also been selected to present the princess with a commemorative booklet bound in vellum. Curiously, this was not something that she ever talked about and I only found out about it when I was told of the Bedfordshire WLA web site. It seems possible that a press photographer took all three pictures at about the same time because Anne had been chosen to make the presentation. However it is clear that three different horses are shown.

The picture of Princess Elizabeth was taken at the parade and comes from the Bedfordshire press archives. The picture of the parade seems most likely to have been taken by a photographer working for the Times (of London). Prints were available for purchase by the public.

Princess Elizabeth Ann in parade of 'Land Girls'