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Wartime Farm - Episode 5

Updated Friday, 13th March 2015

The war reaches 1942, and shortages start to bite. Our Wartime Farmers start to look back to their Victorian forebears for inspiration.

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Taking a break on the Wartime Farm Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Lion TV / BBC A rare break on the Wartime Farm The fifth episode of Wartime Farm, from the BBC and The Open University continues to discover how the home front coped with the demands of feeding an island nation when supply routes were precarious.

The Wartime Farm team tackles the conditions faced by British farmers in 1942, when Hitler's U-boats continued to bombard British ships, slashing imports and inflicting massive shortages on the country.

Ruth finds out how Britain coped with shortages of the wood vital for the war effort in the building aircraft, ships and rifles, as well as pit props for crucial coal mining.

With her daughter Eve, she travels to the New Forest and discovers how women known as 'Lumber Jills' were drafted in to fell trees in the Women's Timber Corps.

Meanwhile, Peter and Alex face up to the wartime petrol crisis. Peter embarks on an ambitious plan to convert a 1930's ambulance to run on coal gas. Alex experiences the conditions faced by the Bevin Boys - conscripts who were sent to coal mines instead of the armed forces because the need for coal was so great. Peter having converted the ambulance and collected the coal to run it, the question is will it work?

Also this episode, the boys revert to a Victorian solution to the shortage of animal feed - using traditional horsepower to operate a root slicer - whilst Ruth sets up an Emergency Feeding Centre. Subsidized by the government to provide cheap food off ration for air raid victims, these 'British Restaurants', as Churchill dubbed them, quickly caught on.

Eating out had traditionally been the preserve of the upper class and most ordinary people had never eaten in public before - many even felt embarrassed at the prospect. The 'British Restaurants', envisaged as a short term response to food shortages, made a lasting change to the nation - introducing the concept of high street dining for the masses.

Wartime Farm: Episode Five is first shown on BBC Two and BBC HD on Thursday, 4th October 2012 at 8.00pm. For further broadcast information, and to watch online where available, please visit






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