The Women’s Land Army has long been celebrated for its efforts to keep the nation’s farms working during the Second World War.
Next month a memorial to the women will be unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum and among the surviving land girls invited along is one from Mansfield.
Nora Mellor (93), of Rannoch Drive, was conscripted in 1940 to work at a farm near Brigg, North Lincolnshire.
The Mansfield Shoe Company worker was plucked from her familiar surroundings to find herself bunking down with 30 other girls and up shovelling and packing spuds by 8am every morning.
“It was January when I started,” said Nora, “and it was bloody hard work.”
“But towards the end we were as good as any man. I think we enjoyed it - especially the company of all the other girls.
“I felt like we were contributing to the war effort because in Brigg there were so many soldiers and airmen. We were part of the war.”
Mother-of-two Nora was raised as a Christian and was initially a little shocked by some of her fellow workers - some of whom had travelled from as far as London to help the cause.
But she added: “It broadened my views and mixing with those girls made me realise there were other things.”
Nora served four years as a land girl before returning to Mansfield and marrying her late husband Alan and starting a family.
The Women’s Land Army Tribute will be unveiled on 21st October at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire.
For more information visit www.womenslandarmytribute.co.uk.