Lumberjill shares her memories

Former Lumberjill Dorothy Scott (nee Turner) with a picture of herself in Lumberjill uniform taken during the Second World War.
Former Lumberjill Dorothy Scott (nee Turner) with a picture of herself in Lumberjill uniform taken during the Second World War.

Becoming a hardy ‘lumberjill’ was the furthest thing from the thoughts of a young Chesterfield hairdresser - but the war changed all that.

At the tender age of 19, call-up papers landed on the doormat of Dorothy Scott (nee Turner) ordering her to report to the local Labour Exchange to be allocated vital war work.

The born-and-raised Brampton girl opted to sign up for the new Women’s Timber Corp which had formed in 1942.

She quickly found herself travelling north to undergo basic training at a camp in Yorkshire. It was the first time she had left home and scissors and curlers were replaced by heavy axes and cross saws as she was taught the ropes of wood craft and how to fell a tree.

Dorothy said: “It was all a challenge for me, but I got on and did it. That’s what you did back then.

“You just had to adapt and I vividly remember getting blisters on my hands when I started which were soft because I was a hairdresser and standing in icy cold mud.”

Kitted out in her distinctive green WTC uniform, her first posting took her to Stapleford Wood, near Newark, where she worked for a year.

Producing timber was vital for the war effort - wood was needed for pit props so the mines could keep producing coal. Timber was also used for aircraft manufacture, explosives and to crate and transport bombs to RAF bases.

She then moved to woods in Leicestershire and then back to home turf in Derbyshire, working in woods near Tideswell and along the Snake Pass.

From there she went to Herefordshire where she met her future husband who was transporting German PoWs into the woods to do war work.

Dorothy served in the woods until 1945, she married the following year and raised a son, Ian.

Her exploits made a big impact on her younger sister Margaret back home in Chesterfield who also volunteered as a war-time Lumberjill.

Dorothy is now nearly 90-years-old and has three grandsons and eight great- grandchildren. She lives in Worcestershire, but remains a proud Derbyshire women.