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Wartime and the Blitz

Wartime pay

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K
Somewhere
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1 of 6  Sat 28th Jan 2012 4:32pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:567

I thought this might be of some interest for discussion. When I was at GEC in the 60s, we had a toolmaker in charge of the lab workshop, who was keen to brag about his pay. I heard him one day telling someone that, during the war, he was able to put in a lot of overtime, and made loads of money, his best week reaching close to £90 wages. I don't know whether he was exaggerating or not, but that much seems more than a bit excessive for the time - or is it? I know there were quite a lot of strikes during the war, and that people who were required to work long hours on rush jobs got very much premium rates, but was £90 p w possible? He also reckoned that he moved job several times; I thought that was rather hard to achieve during the war, especially as he must have been in a reserved occupation? Perhaps someone out there may know more?
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime pay
dutchman
Spon End
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2 of 6  Sat 28th Jan 2012 4:58pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3011

I heard similar stories from a very reliable stories. It was more like £40 per week which was still a huge amount at the time. By comparison a pre-war assembly worker at Standard's received a basic wage of £2.50 but in practice was more like £5.00. My source actually named some of the people involved and claimed that is how they could afford to set up businesses of their own after the war. I knew some them personally but am not going to name them here.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime pay
K
Somewhere
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Thread starter
3 of 6  Sun 29th Jan 2012 3:32pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:567

Hi Dutchman I would expect that pay went up quite a bit during the war anyway, because I know that a skilled craftsman's basic wage in 1950 was in the region of £12-14 p w, and of course there was a lot of overtime being worked in the early years after the war. Didn't someone say "One man's war is another man's profit" or something like that? Blush I certainly wouldn't expect you to name anyone! The person I knew is unlikely to be alive now - he'd be over 100 - but I still wouldn't name him here. Thanks for the information. Thumbs up
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime pay
shoestring
Rutland
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4 of 6  Sun 29th Jan 2012 3:51pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:21

My father served in the Navy for the 6yrs of the war, while his elder brother and brother-in-law worked in the Coventry factories and I remember a certain amount of resentment that he came back to find a woman in his old post (working for less pay) and was encouraged to train for another trade at his own expense, while other family members all had houses, cars and could afford holidays!!
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime pay
dutchman
Spon End
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5 of 6  Sun 29th Jan 2012 4:29pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3011

Pay for a woman doing war work was about £2.50 per week, which was a lot less than a man but still far more than a woman would have earned in peace time. It wasn't consistent though, women doing 'traditional' women's jobs such as sewing were paid exactly the same as before the war. Servicemen's pay was always low, even for career servicemen. There was subsidised accommodation for men with families but this was withdrawn immediately if there was any change in circumstances.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime pay
K
Somewhere
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Thread starter
6 of 6  Mon 30th Jan 2012 11:16am  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:567

When my brother did National Service 1946-8 the officer whom he drove around told him that he had come up through the ranks, and couldn't really afford to be an officer, with paying mess bills, uniform, etc. He said that it was virtually essential to have independent means to be an officer, even then. An issue that I've heard caused both serious resentment and hardship was that Merchant Navy seamen had their pay stopped the instant a ship was torpedoed - literally. And not only that, but PoWs were encouraged to escape, risking their life; when they did so, their pay too was stopped as soon as they were beyond the wire. It only resumed when they were either recaptured or got back into the forces. As you say, it affected their families. What price loyalty?
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime pay

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