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Dalby Forest to host permanent memorial to the wartime "lumberjills"
THE role of the forgotten army of women who toiled tirelessly for Britain’s war effort is to be honoured with a permanent memorial.
A new sculpture will be revealed in Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire on Remembrance Sunday to commemorate the role of the “lumberjills” during the Second World War.
Sculptor Ray Lonsdale, from South Hetton near Durham, won a competition set by the Forestry Commission to create a lasting memorial to mark their work.
His sculpture, called Pull Don’t Push, is a steel fabrication of a felled tree and two lumberjills and is around five metres long and three metres high.
It has been designed to capture the arduous nature of the work in the forests as well as the fun that many of the lumberjills experienced while working in the forests during the war.
The Women’s Timber Corps was part of the Women’s Land Army and more than 9,000 women were recruited from all over Britain and posted to forests where they would carry out the heavy work of felling and crosscutting trees by hand as well as working in sawmills, loading trucks and driving tractors.
Home-grown timber was vital for the war effort and was used in everything from telegraph poles and pit props, to weapons, ship-building and even combat aircraft. Charcoal was also used for explosives and gas masks.
The Forestry Commission has been part of the effort to locate all surviving members of the Women’s Timber Corps in order to recognise their achievements and create a lasting legacy to them.
Chairman Sir Harry Studholme said: “As the Women’s Timber Corps was a section of the Women’s Land Army, there was no official recognition of its efforts during the war. There was no representative at official Armistice Day Parades and no separate wreath at the Cenotaph.
“In fact they had become the Forgotten Corps. In order to provide a lasting legacy to their contribution to the war effort the Forestry Commission England wanted to commission a memorial.”
Great Britain supplied 60 per cent of its timber needs during the war and a total of 46 per cent of trees were felled. By 1945 usable standing timber had been exhausted.
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