One of the UK's last living Land Army girls, who lives in Cambridgeshire, turned 100-years-old this week.

Olive Porritt (nee Boyes), who is a resident at Field House Care Home in Eye, Peterborough, celebrated her milestone birthday with family and friends on Wednesday May 22.

Ahead of her big day, staff member Sofia Thomas and Shamin Bashir launched an appeal for birthday cards and flowers "to make her day special". 

Peterborough Matters: Land Army Girl Olive Porritt (nee Boyes), who is a resident at Field House Care Home in Eye,

Earlier in her life, Olive shared her memories of being a Land Army Girl from 1942 to 1946. Here's her story.

Until the spring of 1942 I lived with my mother, father, sisters and brothers in Bellingham Kent, which is on the outskirts of London.

We lived in a neat little brick council house on an estate and I worked at the nearby Chiltonian Biscuit Factory.

Originally, I thought I would join the WRAF to do my bit but one day we were visited by one of the girls who used to work with us.

Her name was Pat Reading and she had joined the Land Army. She spoke of how she worked on a farm and how much she really enjoyed it; she also looked very smart in her uniform.

So me and three mates decided we would have to give it a go. My friends were Rene Powell, Joan Hicks and Ivy? Sadly I can’t remember Ivy’s second name after all this time.

We all filled in our forms and took them up to the London recruitment offices where a kind but matron type lady said if she put all our forms in together we might all be stationed together.

This was a great bonus that we were certainly not expecting; we did in fact stay reasonably close together right through the war.

Anyway, we were all called up at the same time so agreed to meet at Catford railway station on the morning of 5th April 1942.

We caught the train to Ashford station and that’s how we began our service in the Women’s Land Army.

I was not based at Brenzett Hostel until November 1943 but I was based nearby. I was first at Mrs Barren’s cottage in Brook, then at Mrs Dungay’s bungalow in Hamstreet.

Mrs Barren took all four of us in and she was very kind to us. When we had to leave we went to Mrs Dungay’s; however she could only take two of us, so me and Rene stayed with her and Ivy and Joan went to Faversham.

This was not that far, so we often met up and stayed together right through our Land Army service. I remember Mrs Dungay being in her 30s, a very attractive lady who had in the past been the Ashford Beauty Queen!

It was pitch black and a cold November night in 1943 when me and Rene first arrived at the Brenzett Hostel.

We went in and because no one was around found a couple of empty bunks and bedded down with some blankets.

When the girls returned after an evening at the ‘Fleur de Lea’ a local pub, we were told off for using the blankets and beds.

Obviously they weren’t expecting us, to be fair we must have put the wind up them a bit! However in the morning they took pity on us, probably because Rene was so small and we became the best of friends.

The farm I worked on belonged to Bill and Fanny Paul, you could not meet two nicer people. The work was very hard but enjoyable.

They had a sheep dog called Paddy, an old horse also called Bill and a young horse called Joey.

Because I have a real soft spot for all animals, Joey often played on this and would always lead me a dance!

Being so near to the airfield we saw some terrible things. Young airmen on both sides were killed and I would often cry myself to sleep.

One summer day we were taking a well earned rest on top of a haystack! There were three of us, me, Rene and another girl, Joan Wildman.

Joan had a premonition and said “we have to get off this now”! We did and just as we got a safe distance something exploded near the haystack.

It was a ‘Doodlebug’! Some of the animals were injured and had to be put down. The haystack went up in flames and we had a very lucky escape. I have always since believed in fate!

However there were some good times too. When work permitted I was allowed to go home to visit my mum and dad.

Also on one occasion I remember me and Rene were taken to the American airbase for the evening.

They picked us up from the hostel in a Jeep and we were taken on to their base. We had to queue up with tin mugs and were given hot drinking chocolate which was a real treat; the chaps were real gentlemen and we were made to feel very special.

After a lovely evening we were driven back to the hostel and given boxes of luxuries like chewing gum and soap.

Rene had a love of apples and Bill would often complain when we nagged the poor chap into allowing us to scrump apples from the nearby orchards.

I stayed at the Hostel until early December 1946 when I returned home. However I returned that Christmas with Rene and we rang the bells for the Christmas service at Snargate church.

I understand that my farmer and his wife (Fanny & Bill Paul) have since both died and been buried in the grounds.

I met my husband whilst I was still a Land Army Girl at Brenzett and we both made regular visits to the Hostel right through the Fifties and Sixties.

By the 70s, the building was slowly crumbling into disrepair, however many of the Girls still left messages to each other on the doors. On our last visit we heard it was being turned into an RAF museum.

Last year, 2008, was the first time I have been back for some time. The day brought back many memories, some wonderful, some sad.

It was nice to see the building has been repaired, I hope this letter and the pictures I am donating are of some interest. The address label I enclose is from the envelope which contained my ‘de-mob’ letter!