THOUSANDS of well-wishers gathered in Southampton's town centre to watch a parade of very special ladies.

It looked almost as though the whole of the town, as it was back then, had turned out to enjoy the sunshine and watch the passing parade of up to 600 of the Women’s Land Army (WLA).

After assembling at the Royal Pier the Land Girls, as they were often known, marched through the town to the civic centre led by the band of the Royal Marines.

The parade, made up of WLA members from across Hampshire, was a public recognition of all the work the Land Girls had undertaken during the Second World War.

“Though it lacked the military precision which has for so long characterised the British war scene, the parade probably had a warmer appeal to the large crowds who watched it by reason of the vigorous spirit of the Land Girls, their colourful dress, the farm tractors and the decorated horses and carts at the head of the procession,” reported the Daily Echo in May, 1946.