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Prince Charles unveils UK's first Women's Land Army memorial

The Duke of Rothesay visited the memorial to the land girls at Fochabers Estate in Moray.

Prince Charles arrives at Waverley Duke of Rothesay.
© SWNS

The Prince of Wales has unveiled a memorial which is said to be the first in the UK to honour the Women's Land Army.

The memorial will mark the contribution made by the Land Girls who helped to feed the nation by working on the country's farms during the Second World War.

The memorial, on the Fochabers Estate in Moray, was built following a three-year fundraising campaign to raise the £47,000 needed.

Prince Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, met some surviving Land Girls and Peter Naylor, the artist who created the memorial sculpture when he visited on Tuesday.

He paid tribute to the "truly remarkable" work of the women who helped to feed the nation by working on the country's farms during the Second World War.

The creation of the memorial was steered by former National Farmers Union Scotland president Jim McLaren, whose mother Katherine was a Land Girl.

He recognised there was no permanent tribute to the WLA in the UK, though one is now also being planned for the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Prince Charles said: "It gives me enormous pride to be able to join you on this exposed hilltop to pay a small tribute of my own to all the remarkable Land Girls who did so much during the years when the country was under threat."

Their contribution was "truly remarkable", said Charles, who wore traditional Highland dress.

"There are still several hundred Land Girls left, the only problem is that it's taken nearly 70 years or something in order to ensure there was a memorial," he added.

The Prince said an "enormous debt of gratitude" was owed to Mr McLaren

The WLA was established in 1917 by the UK Board of Agriculture, which drafted in 20,000 women to work on the land.

During the Second World War the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries took over the organisation of the WLA.

At its peak there were more than 80,000 members, who were sent to farms where they were involved in everything from milking, lambing and shearing to planting, harvesting and operating machinery.

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