An Apprentice’s Tale


apprentice1 apprentice2Sarah dropped me a line saying how much she enjoyed my post on Land Girls some time back and how she thought her grandmother may have had a similar experience during the war. She didn’t have any details as yet but she did point me to a link about war time spanking and land girls. Unfortunately the link on Femfirst was a dead end but a search of the same forum did throw up this from a discussion regarding corporal punishment on the home front during the Second World War.

KellyB wrote:

Further to MDJ’s forum comment last week [not found] I don’t know about Land Girls, I am sure they had a hard time too. But Tilly said she had gone to work on a farm as an apprentice in 1940 and had mainly worked with machinery.

I suppose she would have been around 19 or 20 then (by my maths) and was a bit older than some of the girls and a little older than the apprentice boys who had worked in the machine shop before the war. But most of the other apprentice women were in their 20s, having switched from other trades and keen to stay out of factories. However, Tilly was very much against special treatment when the gaffer’s wife offered to put her up at the farmhouse: an opinion, to use her own words, ‘she very much backed down on after a few weeks.’

I gather two of the farm girls had got themselves into a bit of scrape with some ‘boys and a bottle of cider,’ surely quite forward of them in those days. There had been much amusement by the apprentices when they had been treated like little kids and put over the Gaffer’s wife’s knee for a good sound bare bottom spanking. She even sent them to bed without supper and other childish sanctions.

This made Tilly all the more keen to be handled with the women.

But the Gaffer was a no nonsense sort and in his view what was good for boys went twice as well for the women machinists. It was not unusual to have them across the work bench with their heavy overalls taken down to receive a good few licks of the belt across their bottoms. Tilly was shocked to find that the Gaffer was ‘a traditional pants and trousers down kind of man’ and the women were certainly left sore and very embarrassed, especially being handled that way by a man. But for every job on the tractor farm, there were a dozen women hoping to get away from the factories in the cities and the bombs.

Tilly herself got into trouble with the Gaffer after an incident with a shattered drill bit. She said, “I was shaking like a leaf when the Gaffer told me to drop my trousers and get my bottom up over the bench. There were other girls there but no one battered an eyelid. I was so embarrassed, but that was nothing to the real fire he lit in my behind. It was a thrashing that seemed to go on and on.”

Tilly said that after another incident a few weeks later the Gaffer’s wife took pity on her and Tilly jumped at the chance to move out of the apprentice digs and get machine and maintenance work around the farm.

Not that she escaped a sound spanking when she deserved it, she said and admits it was horrible being treated like a kid but after the Gaffer’s belt going across his wife’s knee and being sent to bed early was more preferable.

I only see Tilly once a fortnight and these days her mind wanders, but if she will say more I will pass it on.


I have no idea who Tilly is or her relationship to Kelly, nor what else had been said in this discussion as unfortunately I only found access to a partial thread.

2 Responses to “An Apprentice’s Tale”

  1. 1 Tiredny

    DJ, you are amazing! Finding priceless “snippets” like this, is hard work and time consuming.

    Sometimes, these very short pieces can really, really trigger the imagination. Here’s one I found…

    So Patricia Summers of England doesn’t think American girls ever get spanked.

    I’d like to see her enrolled in the Texas high school I went to. It’s nothing for a girl of 16 to be sent to the principal with a note reading, “Dorothy needs a spanking.” The principal turns you over her lap and gives you 20 good ones ….

    Dorothy Jones

    • 2 DJ

      There are loads out there – but they don’t all get indexed by Google – so when I find a comment on a forum I revisit it and look for trends.

      Unfortunately femfirst and others don’t always allow backdoor bookmarking and you are redirected to the front and have to find the threads one by one 😦

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