Market Lavington Museum

Threshing in 1945

In our previous blog post, we met Pam (aka Pat) Wilmott, a land girl at Knapp Farm in Market Lavington during the second world war. We have two photographs of threshing, which she labelled as 1945. By the time the wheat was ready to be harvested, VE day on 8th May would have passed and probably VJ day on 15th August would have gone by too. However, it was a long time before all the servicemen were demobbed and, no doubt, land girls and prisoners of war were still available as a work force.

In the days before combine harvesters, corn crops were cut with a reaper binder and the ears of corn, still attached to their straw stalks, were tied into sheaves. Several sheaves would be stood up together for support and left in the field as stooks to dry out.

Threshing was the process which separated the corn from the straw.

Pam’s information about this picture says it was of threshing at Knapp Farm in 1945. The lady kneeling with the boy was Phyllis Ingram, the wife of Stan, who worked at the farm, mostly on an old tractor. She thinks the girl standing was Daphne Cooper. Land girl Pam Wilmott is on the extreme right.

Pam’s label for this second photograph says that it is of threshing and that they sometimes had help from Italian prisoners of war, who came with their guard. There would appear to be an elevator behind the people, presumably for lifting the straw onto a trailer or a straw stack.