T H E
WO M E N
F O R E S T R Y
S E R V I C E
In Scotland women had often undertaken light forestry work on
estates but in 1917 this work was formalised and expanded, when
the Board of Agriculture requested funds to employ 200 women in
forestry. The Women’s Forestry Service was formed, as a branch of
Although initially it was expected that women would do little more
than plant trees, this attitude soon changed. Women were trained
as ‘cutters’ and ‘measurers’. Cutters were involved in felling and
‘snedding’ (trimming) trees.This called for ‘a physical strength above
the average’.They received on the job training and were working in
the woods within two or three days of starting, progressing to felling
trees within a couple of months.
Camps were set up to train women in the more skilled role of
measurer. The work of themeasurers requiredmore brains than brawn
and involved assessing the dimensions of trees, managing teams of
20-30 cutters and overseeing proceedings at sawmills. Women were
also involved in nurturing and planting young trees in nurseries.
BO O T S , BR E E C H E S A N D A SL OUC H H AT
Measurers were paid a minimum of 35 shillings per week and cutters
were paid 22s.6d per week,pretty much the average wage of a labourer
at the time.
The women foresters wore the same uniform as other members of
the Land Army: boots, breeches, white overalls and a ‘slouch’
hat. Cutters were distinguished by an embroidered badge on their
arms and hats showing two crossed axes and measurers by a badge
showing a tree.
6 materials of war