WWII Soldier's Pay (with responses from the vets themselves)
#1

Pay scale during WWII...

 

Someone asked about this among other things in a recent topic regarding her grandfather. Thought this deserved a place of its own.

 

Here's an interesting article written in Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly, April 24, 1944 by By Malvern Hall Tillitt

 

I have also attached a chart from another source.

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Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#2

Okay, here are some actual comments from WWII veterans-

 

 

Hi Marion,

 

We had a paymaster who visited our area with cash. We lined up, moved up to his desk (which sometimes was just a stack of boxes,) and he counted out the cash, you signed for it, and that was that. Complications came when you were in combat or on patrol or somewhere the paymaster couldn't go. Then things got backed up and when he did show up he had to explain what he was giving to you. I recall one stint of about three and a half months that we weren't paid. The paymaster really had a tough time figuring the right amounts. No calculators or computers in those days. They usually did have a hand cranked adding machine. Our pay wasn't much, but the paymaster traveled with quite a bit of cash and appropriate security. Guys with sidearms were all around the pay table.

 

I remember my first pay in China. We also received a sheet of paper telling us what to pay for various services. The going price for a prostitute was the Chinese equivalent of 10 cents American. The Navy messed that up because they were only ashore for a short time and usually didn't go to a currency exchange. So they gave the girls $1. That was really inflationary. We weren't very popular when we tried to give the girls Chinese money that equaled 10 cents American. It wasn't long before the girls were demanding an American dollar.

 

Bob, WWII/U.S. Marines

 

 

More from Bob...

 

 

 

Should be interesting.

Some time after I was discharged, they found a mistake in my final pay (@ Great Lakes Navy Base), and I received an impressive looking envelope from the Dept. of the NAVY, with a check for 10 cents. On the written line of the check it said ***ONLY 10 CENTS***. I never cashed it, but carried it in my wallet for years. Don't know where it is right now but it's somewhere in my papers. I probably messed up the Government bookkeeping. It's still messed up only now it's trillions instead of a dime.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#3

The pay was 50dol a day once a month cash. Over seas you got a raise of 10 dollars paid in cash of the country you were in after the war ended.

Harold Whiting

 

More from Harold....

 

As i recall i was married so I think 21 dollars was sent home for wife and child and 10 dollars was deducted for life insurance that left a private with 29 dollars a month, with no place to spend it. We used to send most home till after the war ended then there were places to spend money snopp shops white lighting. My child was born when I was in France, Aug 1944 She was 16 months old before i saw her. That's history from years ago.
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#4

And from Don Burgett...

 

 

During peace or wartime while in the US we, (GI's) were paid in American cash; less deductions for insurance. If stationed in a fort, large facility, etc Laundry, advances in pay, etc were also deducted. Pay call was sounded and troops lined up according to rank, Officers first, except Field Grade Officers, I think their pay was retreived by ther "Dog Robbers," then enlisted non com by rank and or longivity. The run-of-the mill- inlisted men by whoever got in line first.

 

While serving in foreign countries the proceedure was the same except the troops were paid in the currency of the host country. When WWII ended and we were in Germany we were paid in Marks, in France we were paid in Francs, etc. I believe the value of foreign money was set by the host country, except I believe that German money was of a value set by the Allies collectively.

 

The black market however, was a different story. Dealers in cash in foreign countries, France for instance, dealers were paying GI's 3 French dollars (equivelant) for each English dollar, and 4 French dollars for every American dollar. Europeans were all afraid of inflation and their only protection at that time was to convert their money for American or English cash.

 

Some GI's in the right position have made $3000.00 or $4, 000.00 foreign cash, on a payday.

 

In God we Trust,

Don Burgett

 

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#5

Gosh, I just love my boys... Within hours of sending out a request for info, I've already heard from several. Here's another reply.

 

 

Marion,

 

Here in the states we stood in line and received our pay minus deductions in cash. Same in England but the pay was in Pounds and what ever change in British coins. In the ETO we were given "invasion" money. Only good at at PX or in card games. Memory is shot so I don't remember how we were paid in Germany and France after the war ended. Spent some time in Germany, Austria and France and I guess we got civilian money as in England so we could use it in the country we were stationed.

 

Dale 285th Engineer C Battalion

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#6

And a different perspective...

 

 

PAY?.....WERE WE SUPPOSED TO GET PAYED?......I NEVER GOT ANY MONEY, OR ANYTHING ELSE, FROM THE TIME

I LANDED NORTH OF NORMANDY UNTIL I GOT OUT OF PRISON CAMP.....THEN I NEVER GOT PAID UNTIL AFTER

I GOT WELL ENOUGH TO GO HOME, SPEND THREE MONTHS CONVALESCENT LEAVE, GO BACK TO LA AND WAIT

UNTIL THEY FOUND MY RECORDS......THEN I GOT $300.00......

 

KARL (BIILL) JONES

81ST. COMBAT ENGINEERS

106 INFANTRY DIVISION, U.S. ARMY

 

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#7

Captain John Fallon - 36th Engineer

 

I sent ten % of my pay home as an allotment. Were paid cash in the local currency, Lira, Franc, Mark. We had to sign the paybook precisely in the proper space or get red-lined. Sometimes the paymaster took his time to find us but usually a Company Officer dished it out.
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#8

Jim Zuidema - 65th Infantry Division

 

Hi Marion.....Well, as for me, I got paid once a month. During combat, not in cash usually, it just built up. After the war, I was put on a desk, they found out I could type, good and fast. After all, I had just gotten out of school when I went into the Army. I was a typist for General Brock, 65th Arty, then battery clerk, then personal sgt and then to Vienna where I was head of General Mark Clark's office. I personally didn't gamble or drink, so I spent most of my money sending it home. I use to sell my cigarettes to "live" on. I made up the payrolls and kept the records, so I never entered any of my "vacations"......every time I got to a new outfit, they looked at my records and asked me where I wanted to go and when. Saw a lot of Europe that way. I know that Privates at that time were getting $50 a month. I remember because just before going overseas, I spent my entire pay and a little extra, very little, on a diamond ring to send to my Theresa. Lasted 64 years. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

God bless, JIM

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#9

Yeah, more answers. So happy,,,

 

 

Hi Marion,

 

As I best remember we were paid in cash once a month in the currency of the country in which we were at the moment. (Dollars in the US, Algerian Francs in Algeria, US Occupation Dollars in Italy, France and Germany). We lined up and the CO paid us after we signed the Payroll Roster. After we boarded the ship in Marseilles to come home we surrendered any and all foreign money and were paid back in US Dollars and coinage.

 

Hope this helps and Happy Holidays,

Aloha,

Jim

 

James G. Davis, Member and Historian

1204th Army Engineer Fire fighting Platoon

North Africa – Italy – France – Germany

World War II

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#10

And an example of a final payment sheet (I got it from Jean, but deleted names and numbers).

 

Christoph

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