Easter Bogs farmworker by Mary McIntosh

Easter Bogs © Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Easter Bogs © Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Mary worked on Easter Bogs farm near Cairnfield, Banffshire. She started work at the age of 13 in 1939. She was put there by her family as a place to work. She had to light the fire and make porridge. There were four double beds to change with flannelette sheets.

She left Easter Bogs farm in 1941 at the age of 15 and moved to work at Tanachie Farm nr. Portgordon. She helped the daughters. She does not remember any Prisoners of War working on the farm. Mary’s next job during the latter part of the war, was working for local firm, Baxters. The older Mr Baxter chose a tartan for the tins. Sometimes the female workers put messages in the jam hoping to reach the troops by putting their name and address on the jam pot cover. They placed the jam jar on a wooden block with a groove on it to stop the glass bottle moving. Items such as sliced beetroot were filled with the “bonny” bits around the edge of the jar and then the rest of the jar was filled up. They were usually not allowed to sing while they worked. Mary remembers being told “That is the second time I told you to stop singing”. Gordon Baxter, a member of the army at the time, would sometimes come to the factory floor to sit next to them. “He was a lovely sweetheart”.  Two boys worked in a tin shed skinning rabbits for the stews and soups.

Woolworths_in_Elgin_-_geograph_org_uk_-_1063056

Woolworths in Elgin © Copyright Iain Macaulay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Mary also worked in Forestry for the Timber Corps. Italian POWs wore a patch on their back to identify them. She was also an Assistant Window dresser at Woolworths. It was very busy. On the weekend she worked at a Tea Bar. Maryhill House was a barracks and Hough House (=Mansion House) was for the RAF.

Towards the end of the war Mary was posted to Camberley where Princess Elizabeth was also posted. She learnt to drive there. Mary remembers the lovely smile she received once from the Princess when Mary went inside to collect her wages.

Memory contributed by Mary McIntosh from Elgin

Additional information

Princess Elizabeth was posted to Camberley during WW2 where she learnt a variety of skills including vehicle repair.  The person in charge of her training was Maud Maclennan. She wrote about her experience of doing this in 1952.

 

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