The whole country was mobilised during World War Two in a bid to beat the enemy.

The men may have been fighting at the front, but back home women were doing their bit by working in factories and on the land.

An army of female farm workers - the landgirls - was created to keep agricultural production high and feed the nation.

The landgirls became a vital part of the country at war and they are now winning recognition for the part they played in ensuring victory.

Joan Shotton, of Ferry Lane, Offenham, worked with the landgirls and other friends on a farm in Great Comberton, Pershore, which was owned by Ralph Brooks.

While Joan was working in the Vale, she took part in the trial of a Bomfords planter, which was patented by Sid and Ralph Brooks, who owned a farm in Elmley Castle, and other landowners in Great Comberton and Lower Moor.

The planter was developed to boost production and to mechanise some of the back-breaking work.

For the purpose of the trial, which was held on the Bomfords' land in Fladbury in July 1942, the girls planted leeks. Joan says the trial was witnessed by local landowners who were all interested to see the planter in action.

The planter was fitted with four seats, two on each side, so the girls could sit down while they were planting and it made the job much easier.

Joan spent seven years working at the farm, she helped out with planting and picking onions, leeks and cabbages, most of which were transported by trains or lorries to Birmingham Market.

Joan worked alongside the landgirls, who had been brought in from all over the country.

Most of them came from Manchester and had never seen the countryside before.

Joan said that working on the land came as a shock to most of them, as they were used to working in cotton mills and had absolutely no idea about how to go about picking cabbages and leeks.

For fear of being moved away from the Evesham area, Joan and her friends decided not to sign up with the land army, but to work with them at the nearby farm.

For £2 a week, Joan and her friends worked from 7am-5pm in all weathers. "It was hard work on the land in those days, but we were all such a happy crowd,

"You were given a choice, it was whether you wanted to work in a factory or work on the farms," she said.

They soon got to know the girls from the land army and were regularly to join them at the hostel in Pershore (now the site of the Agricultural College) for dances and music nights.