Mrs Elizabeth (Betty) Murray talks about World War II

Mrs Elizabeth (Betty) Murray interviewed in Starnraer by Nancy McLucas about her experience serving in the Scottish Women’s Land Army during WWII for the Stranraer and District Local History Trust. © Stranraer and District Local History Trust.

  • Interviewed: February 2009.
  • Ref: Tape 32.
  • © Photo: Julia MacDonald.
  • © European Ethnological Research Centre, 2012.


NMcL: (poor quality sound) And what exactly were your duties [in the Scottish Women’s Land Army]?

BM: Well, the week that, as far as ah can remember, the week that you were on duty, you were up at 6 O’clock. Ye had, there was outside boiler which was down steps and you cleaned that out, took all the clinkers out of it and then you stoked it up. And ah remember that it took 40 shovels of coke to go into it and that heated the greenhouse, the big greenhouse.

NMcL: And did you do this every day?

BM: Oh yeah, for the week that ye were on duty ye did it 3 times a day – ye did it morning, afternoon and 10 O’clock at night.

NMcL: Three, 40 shovel fulls?

BM: Hmhm.

NMcL: You must have been quite strong?

BM: Yes (laughs) I think we were. And we’d that to do and that wis the week that ye were on duty ye couldn’t go out at night because ye had yer 10 O’clock, you’d. And it was pitch dark. And ah had, ah had always been scared o the dark before. However, when ah went out one of the girls said, ‘Ah’ll come out with you if you come out with me’.  And ah think that lasted for 2 nights and then, it, she jist, that wis the end o the story. So ah just decided, ‘If ah get murdered, ah get murdered!’ (laughs) and that’s the end o it. So after that, just a case o, when it wis done, ah mean when it wis night time you went out and that was it.

NMcl: And when ye went into this boiler house thing, you must have had some light to stoke the thing?

BM: No, you’d just have the light o the clinker when you opened the door. And, oh, ah, at wis quite, ah mean it wis quite a way down into the … Ah’ve never been back, ah just don’t know if it’s still there (laughs).

NMcL: It would be very interesting to find it.

BM: It would be.