In 1916, the women of Barns Green were able to register their willingness to work for the war effort by visiting the local labour exchange in Horsham. Local farmers were still resistant to employing women for “men’s work” and local women knew that farm work was hard, dirty and very difficult to do when wrestling with full length dresses! For the first time ever the young single women of the village had a choice of where to work. For decades the only work option for these women was domestic service – now they could work in engineering industries which had previously been a wholly male preserve, utterly closed to women, but now suddenly available to anyone. It is a measure of how much the rural community was affected by the war that young women from Sussex villages could be sent to work in the burgeoning munitions and aircraft works in Croydon. They did not commute to their new jobs, but were billeted with local families in Croydon or lived in hostels created for the purpose. They were paid far more than they would have received as a domestic servant, although the work was hard, potentially life threatening and the hours long. But unlike their mothers and grandmothers these women had a glimpse of a life beyond domestic service and marriage – they had independence.Florence and Gladys Sprackling left Barns Green to work in munitions in Croydon. Among their new workmates were Ruby and Lizzie Gorsuch from Brighton and the four young women became firm friends. In the same way as men going off to war recorded the event with a photograph in their new uniforms, so too did these women.Although not a uniform, munitions workers had to wear an overall dress which came to about mid calf, not full length, but still not as practical as trousers. They also wore a soft cap to keep their hair up and every woman was given an individually numbered “war work” badge (the triangular badge just visible in the photograph).The friendship formed between the Sprackling and Gorsuch families continued after the war, and in 1921 Ruby Gorsuch married Leslie Sprackling, Gladys and Florence’s brother.