A WOMAN named a champion plough girl who starred in the propaganda film Land Girl is among thousands of Second World War workers whose records can now be searched online.

National Records of Scotland has released digitised copies of the employment records of members of the Scottish Women’s Land Army (SWLA) and Women’s Timber Corps (WTC) who helped keep the nation fed during the war.

They replaced men who had joined the forces and worked on farms and in forests to help produce food and keep industries supplied with timber during the conflict and its immediate aftermath.


Better known as the Lumberjills, the Women’s Timber Corps quit their homes and jobs, many with great trepidation, and ventured into the countryside to wield the axe and saw. 

The records include those of Betty Reid, described as “something of a pin-up for the SWLA”, who starred in the Ministry of Information propaganda film Land Girl in 1942.

The film aimed to address the prejudice women in the SWLA faced, drive recruitment and boost morale, and it showed Reid “giving a faultless display of ploughing and overcoming the sexist attitudes of a belittling local farmer”, according to the Scotland’s People website.

It details how Dunbar-born Reid had previously won ploughing competitions organised by the Young Farmers’ Club and Women’s Land Army, and was awarded the title of Champion Plough Girl of Scotland.

Around 10,000 handwritten index cards with details of women who served with the SWLA and WTC between 1939 to 1950 can now be accessed on the website.

National Records of Scotland archivist Jessica Evershed said: “These records are an excellent historical resource for researchers piecing together details of these women’s lives.

“The Scottish Women’s Land Army and Timber Corps was critical during a time of desperate crisis, helping to produce food and timber.

“Putting these records online allows people all over the world to research their relatives, or to just investigate the history of the famous ‘Land Girls’ for themselves.”

The details of Dundee woman Wilhelmina Robertson, who worked on the Glamis Estate which included Glamis Castle, the childhood home of the Queen Mother, have also been published.

Users can also see the details of Elizabeth Margaret Ann Cochrane, later Bell, who enrolled into the Timber Corps on August 29, 1942 and worked at two locations in Aberdeenshire.

Forestry Journal: An index card with details about Betty Reid is among those digitisedAn index card with details about Betty Reid is among those digitised (Image: Crown Copyright/NRS)

The cards give details such as the women’s names, ages, dates of service and insight into their training.

A few include comments on their experience, aptitudes and work ethic, as well as noting awards for dedicated service.

The records, which can be found at https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/, contain details of women born up to 1922 and further records will be added to the website annually.