Thousands of women fought for their country using axes and saws instead of guns and tanks.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Women’s Timber Corps, which was deployed in the New Forest and other woodland areas during WW2.

In the late 1930s, Britain was the largest timber importer in the world, getting 96% of its supplies from abroad. But the war meant the country needed a massive amount of homegrown wood for industrial and military purposes.

Women aged 17 -24 plugged the gap by leaving home for the first time and felling a huge number of trees across the country. The corps was formed in April 1942 to replace male forestry workers who had been called up and the women became known as Lumberjills.

A major headache for the female timber felling army was finding somewhere to live as they were moved from area to area. There was a shortage of accommodation in the New Forest, worsened by an invasion of workmen building an airfield at Stoney Cross.

A book about the Lumberjills (pictured) is available in paperback on Amazon.