About the book

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, researcher Joanna Foat tells their story for the first time, and gives them the recognition they so truly deserve.


"A fascinating book about a lesser-known aspect of World War II."

Jaqui Searle

"A well researched book, looking forward to reading it."

Iain Skinner

The Lumberjills

by Joanna Foat

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