logo - Join me in the 1900s early C20th
Florence Cole as a child

Schoolboys as farm labourers
in the First World War

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schoolboys working in fields in WW1

Boys taken off school - particularly from English lessons - to work in the fields as part of the war effort to produce home-grown food during World War One. From an anonymous contributor. Note the wooden handles of the spades which would have been very heavy to use.

My future husband, who was in the same year as me at school, but who I didn't know at the time because of boys and girls being segregated, always complained that his class had too often been taken off school to work on the fields.

This was in the First World War when the men were away fighting at the front.

Incidentally my husband claimed, that this enforced absence from school was worse whenever there was an English lesson. He was an able man, but never grasped the rudiments of punctuation and grammar until our daughter explained them while being at a grammar school in the 1950s. My husband asserted that the school teachers themselves didn't understand grammar. How true this was, I can't say.

We girls were not taken off school to work in the fields. I suspect that there was never any intention to give girls much education as we were expected to become housewives and mothers. Nevertheless basic spelling was considered important. Not that English was my strong subject although I always liked jotting things down. Altogether I felt that the general grounding given by the school was very sound, albeit basic.

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