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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Soldiers' pay in World War One


jcebell
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Hi all,

We were wondering how much soldiers in the First World War were paid?

We have men from the infantry, Labour Corps and RAOC, were these guys paid differing amounts? Were they paid during training? Did they get extra if they were qualified to act as sniper or other specialism? Did they get extra if they were married, and/or had children? Did Empire soldiers get paid extra?

What sort of things did they have to pay from this and what was provided for them, thinking about uniforms, food, etc..?

Thanks,

The Bells

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

Interesting subject.

My wife's grandfather was paid 1s 6d per day as an infantryman in 1915, this rose to 2s 9d per day as a machine gunner in 1916. He also received an additional 9d per day for being the Company shot from early 1917.

My grandfather was paid 4s a day as an Aeromechanic in 1917 rising to 5s per day on promotion to Corporal in 1919.

I have a photocopy from the South London Press in 1916 recruiting ASC lorry drivers which indicated pay of 6s per day.

Ian

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A Private in the CEF was paid $1.10 per day.

What wsa the relative price of a pint of beer and cigarettes at that time?

marc

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Wasn't the CEF $1.00 a day (Canadian) and then .10 extra for overseas service?

Take care,

Neil

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Couldn't resist sending you this whole poster original copy in the IWM.

The bottom part which you probably can't read, gives examples of what was on offer with regard to pay.

No mention of a company car you'll notice.

I'll send the written part separately and hopefully more clearly.

Kate C.

post-1-1080153514.jpg

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Actually I think you can read it because although being within the size guidelines it has come out much bigger than I thought.

Sorry.

Kate

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Wasn't the CEF $1.00 a day (Canadian) and then .10 extra for overseas service?

Correct!

Below, can be found the Canadian pay scales of 1918 (again! :P )

Dave.

post-1-1080161286.jpg

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Hi

I recall reading somewhere that British troops referred to the Australians as the "******* five bobbers"!

Ed

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What is the meaning of 'Deferred Pay' for the CEF?

marc (who would still like to know what a pint of beer cost back then)

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What is the meaning of 'Deferred Pay' for the CEF?

Men were not paid their full pay when in the field. It was judged not a good idea to let a lot of single men loose with lots of money in an area where there were few things to buy ( or whatever!). They were given spending money while the rest of their pay was "deferred", often until discharge.

There have been a few good threads on this subject over the past year. One is here: http://1914-1918.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=1140&hl=

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Thanks for the reply, great link that.

The question begging to be asked is what did things cost at the time in France / Belgium?

Did their "20 Francs a fortnight" buy much?

The Bells

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My grandad, who was in the artillery, was wounded in france in 1918. He ended up in hospital in Ireland and was most indignant that he had his pay reduced to 1s 6d per day whilst he was in hospital. Not only that but they all lost a weeks pay for a tent that caught fire during celebrations for the armistace, even though he was too ill to move from his bed at that time.

Simon

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Pint of Beer 1 Franc

Pack of Biscuits 20 centimes

two packs of woodbines 15 centimes

Box of matches 60 centimes

tin of OXO cubes 75 centimes

Per a 1918 price list for Expeditionary Force Canteens (From Liddles "The Soldiers War 14-18)

Exchange rate was usually around 9 1/2D per franc.

The attached is an incomplete listing of pre Jan 1918 pay scales from the Royal Warrant.

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My wifes grandfather was a RE Tunneller and he was paid a princely sum of 6 shillings a day, but he was not the same man when he returned, I think that it was all the time he spent underground that affected him.

Regards

John

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Hi

I recall reading somewhere that British troops referred to the Australians as the "******* five bobbers"!

Ed

Australian privates were paid 6 shillings per day - hence the slightly more refined "six-bob-a-day-tourists". Of that, 1 shilling was deferred until discharge, leaving them with 5/- per day in hand (in theory).

From looking through embarkation details, it would seem that most had an allotment of 2-3 shillings to their next of kin, although some were as high as 4/6, leaving them sixpence a day in hand. They probably weren't immensely better off in real terms than their British equivalents, but their families did better out of it.

Can anyone confiem if pensions were paid as a proportion of per diem rates? If so there would have been some pretty wild discrepancies between British pensions and Australian.

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  • 8 years later...

Greetings

Would the enclosed PDF doc be a a sample of a soldiers Pay book

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Thank you for the link.

Is this a pay book

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Thank you Chris,

I take it that the 5f.in the doc is French Francs

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No, it is lifted from a WO Instruction of 1914. I have added a page on the introduction of War Pay (http://www.1914-1918.net/pay_warpay_1917.html) which was one of the items in Ron's material and am now trying to put the rest of it into readable shape for a web page. It is AO 1 of 1918, which covers various adjustments of rates and proficiency pay.

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