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15 October 2014
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Never was So Much Owed to So Many Who Received So Little

by questioningbarney

Contributed by 
questioningbarney
People in story: 
WILLIAM HENRY BARNES
Location of story: 
SOMERSET LIGHT INFANTRY
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A2778258
Contributed on: 
24 June 2004

I was just out of my teens when I received my conscription papers forceing me into the Army, if I deserted I understood that I could be shot by the british army for desertion as they were in WW1.I was now faced wiyh the fact that I had a 50/50 chance of being wounded or killed.
During the first week I was told that I/we were told that our pay would be two shillings a day,[ 14 shillings a week ] [ my job as a civillian payed £6.00 a week ]BUT, was informed that as our dependants under finicial pressure as they would now only be receiveing 14 shillings a week, would we like to contribute some of our 14 shillings a week to our dependants, half of us took one pace forward in agreement, and signed away half our pay, which gave our dependants 21 shillings a week my wifes rent was £1.00 a week, most of our dependants had to rely on charity to survive.
I/We were then told that the army would only pay out in round sums of 5 shillings as my pay was now down to 7 shillings a week I would only now receive 5 shillings a week untill the other 2 shillings reached another 5 shillings then I would get 10 shillings a week and so on.
So for my life and limb I was being payed 5 shillings a week, as my pay in civvie street was paying £6.00 a week I was either a poor paid slave or I was being made to pay for my equipment food and clothing.
[ after the war my job paid £8.00 a week ]
further punishment was that I/We would only
get leave once every 11 months to see our families, and of course many received their first "dear john" letters just before their leave came up.
The British government had all pay records destroyed in 1947, they did not want reseachers to find out.
While on guard duty at a condemed prison call "the verne off Portland Bill, I would look down on Weymouth, and think everyone else is doing everythimg as normal, and receiving wages for their job, and here were we being locked up at night just like a prisioner.
I am now 84 years old now , after the war I was demobed in 1946 given a suit and not even a thank you from the British Government
The public should know this, as well as everything else that is made public.

Yours Faithfully W H Barnes

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Message 1 - Re: NEVER WAS SO MUCH OWED TO SO MANY WHO RECEIVED SO LITTLE

Posted on: 25 June 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Mr Barnes

You assert as fact that "The British government had all pay records destroyed in 1947, [because] they did not want reseachers to find out."

This is quite untrue, service pay has always been known down to the last penny and accounted for to the Treasury, it was never a state secret nor ever classified in any way. Pay scales for all ranks, from the highest to the lowest, were approved by Parliament and have always been in the public domain. For example, in the War Office publication "Royal Warrant for the Pay, Appointment, Promotion, and Non-Effective Pay of the Army, 1940", published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1940, which fully sets out the pay tables.

Peter

 

Message 2 - Re: NEVER WAS SO MUCH OWED TO SO MANY WHO RECEIVED SO LITTLE

Posted on: 26 June 2004 by questioningbarney

Dear Peter.

Mt statement is based on a reply received from the Ministry OF Defence dated 13/07/2000. ref 00/38371/DR 2b2.

Which states: also you are advised that all pay records are destroyed after a statutory retention of 7 years.

Will await your reply.

Kindest regards Bill

 

Message 3 - Re: NEVER WAS SO MUCH OWED TO SO MANY WHO RECEIVED SO LITTLE

Posted on: 26 June 2004 by questioningbarney

Further to my other reply to your letter. The letter I received from the Mod was signed Miss J Hobbs for the Departmental Records officer.

My origional query was for the record of my pay during my detention in the Army Somerset Light Infantry from 1940 to 1946, which was 5 shillings a week.

Kindest Regards Bill

 

Message 4 - Re: NEVER WAS SO MUCH OWED TO SO MANY WHO RECEIVED SO LITTLE

Posted on: 26 June 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Bill

There is nothing sinister in periferal records being destroyed after seven years, this is quite normal - it is not done to thwart researchers. Pay scales were never hidden.

Regards,
Peter

 

Message 5 - Re: NEVER WAS SO MUCH OWED TO SO MANY WHO RECEIVED SO LITTLE

Posted on: 30 June 2004 by questioningbarney

Dear Peter
Thank you very much for your reply, but I then ask why can't I get the pay record for my time served in the army from 1940 to 1946. are you agreeing with me that there are no pay records kept for this period of time which I served in the army so that I can correct my origional statement regarding this.

once again many thanks

Regards Bill

 

Message 6 - Re: NEVER WAS SO MUCH OWED TO SO MANY WHO RECEIVED SO LITTLE

Posted on: 30 June 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Bill

You yourself say that the Ministry of Defence wrote to you saying that "all pay records are destroyed after a statutory retention of 7 years".

My point was that there is nothing malicious in this, it simply means that they have to be retained for seven years and then destroyed by law.

Although individual pay records are weeded, pay scales for the period are known.

Best wishes,

Peter

 

Message 7 - Re: NEVER WAS SO MUCH OWED TO SO MANY WHO RECEIVED SO LITTLE

Posted on: 08 July 2004 by questioningbarney

Dear Peter
Ok so individual pay records are weeded, so it was as I stated nobody will ever know what conscpipted individual were paid during the war from 1939 to when they were demobed, unless someone like me brings it to notice, I just thought it was of interest just as everything else is which happened during the war, to me it is a part of history.
Regular army pay records I was not implying were destroyed, although I allways understood received the same rate of pay 2 shillings a day, and allowances above that received by a
conscripted individual.
I will now at sometime carry on with my experienves during the war, and my thoughts at the time.
My best regards and wishes Peter, I do value your comments.

Bill.

 

Message 8 - Re: NEVER WAS SO MUCH OWED TO SO MANY WHO RECEIVED SO LITTLE

Posted on: 08 July 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Bill

I look forward to reading your contributions.

Regards,

Peter <ok>

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