Britain's Forgotten Army

The definitive history book about the Women's Timber Corps

On the eve of the Second World War, with only seven months supply of timber stockpiled, Britain was in trouble. Timber was critical to the war effort: it was needed for everything from aircraft and shipbuilding to communications and coal mining. Lacking in both men and timber, the government made a choice. Reluctantly, they opened lumber work for women to apply – and apply they did. Enter the Lumberjills.

The Women’s Timber Corps had thousands of members who would prove themselves as strong and as smart as any man: they felled and crosscut trees by hand, operated sawmills, and ran whole forestry sites. They may not have been on the front line, but they fought their own battles on the home front for respect and equality. And in the midst of wartime, all weathers and heavy labour, they lived an exciting life in the forest.

Many a firm friend was made around a campfire while doing each other’s hair for an evening dance. They discovered a new found freedom, nomadic existence, romance and even soulmates. In Lumberjills, Joanna Foat tells their story for the first time, and gives them the recognition they so truly deserve.

"The Lumberjills Britains Forgotton Army is a true story full of anecdotes about the girls doing their bit during the Second World War, reminding us of the incredible hard work they undertook helping to keep Britain safe. 

"From her interviews Joanna Foat has brought to life their camaraderie, strength and endurance and great sense of humour throughout. So many people have never heard of Lumberjills so how fitting a tribute to these wonderful young women of the 1940's."

Five Star Amazon Review

The Lumberjills

Stronger Together

The first novel in a series based on true stories of women in the Timber Corps

When war breaks out, three spirited women must set aside their differences to help Britain win the war. Fighting from the forests, they find new depths of courage, strength and love. But – when war threatens everything – would you risk your life to save a friend?

When feisty, bohemian Keeva signs up for war work in the forest, she’s already learnt the hard way that people can’t be trusted. For Rosie, a factory girl from London’s East End, the forest is an escape – but she can’t stop her big mouth getting her into trouble. And Beatrice, a wealthy debutante, wants to use her brain, not ruin her fine hands felling trees. Meanwhile, Lady Denman, director of the Women’s Land Army, battles with bureaucrats in Whitehall ­to defend the Lumberjills.

As these strong women struggle to survive in a tough men's world, it seems they really may succeed in their dangerous war work… when a terrible disaster strikes and threatens everything they have achieved.

The Lumberjills Stronger Togetheris inspired by the incredible and heroic true stories of the Women’s Timber Corps.

"A powerful story of hardship and friendship, based on the author’s own original research. I was rooting for these girls to prove themselves on their challenging adventure." 

Suzanne Goldring

best-selling author of My Name is Eva


‘Many of the lumberjills I met were upset that they remained a footnote in history, so I wanted to make sure they were remembered. Now their incredible feats of physical and mental endurance inspire women today, especially female forestry workers and arborists from across the world. Given the freedom and opportunity to work together out in the forest, the lumberjills were a huge success.’ 

Joanna Foat

  Celebrating Women in History