Farm Work - Page 2

Abram J. Thiessen also served in a forestry camp. Then, in 1943, he was assigned to farm duty.

It has been said, all things come to an end, and so also did my camp life. Some time in December 1943 we were given leave to go home for the Christmas holidays. As soon as I arrived home arrangements were made whereby I could find employment in Winnipeg, and work on the family farm during spring, summer, and fall. I started driving a truck delivering coal for the Capital Coal Co. in early January and came home again at the end of April. Out of my wages I was allowed to keep twenty-five dollars per month plus an allowance of thirty dollars towards my room and board. The rest of my earnings were deducted and were sent to the Red Cross. This amount usually exceeded the amount that I received. Also as soon as I went to work at home Dad had to pay twenty-five dollars per month to the Red Cross for me and the same amount for my brother Jack who had also reached recruitment age. We farmed a larger than average acreage in those years but fifty dollars per month was a considerable drain on the family income.” [ASM, 30-49]

The CO on farm duty produced food for Canadians and the CO paid a portion of his wages to the Red Cross.

For Herman Sawatzky, half of his monthly salary went to the Red Cross. Sawatzky worked for the reeve of the Franklin Municipality in southern Manitoba .

He had 240 acres of land, about 60 head of cattle. My first job after chores were done was to go to the bush on his farm and cut down dead trees for a winter supply of firewood. After that there was dried manure to be hauled around the house…. Then the judge talked with me and Tom Collins [the reeve], we made arrangements of how much I was going to pay off on my wages to the Red Cross. In winter I got $40 a month, I had to pay $20 of it to the Red Cross, and in summer I got $45 a month, of which I had to pay Red Cross $25. My wages stayed the same till 1946 in the fall. [ASM, 166]

All COs on farms contributed to the Red Cross. Although this was a financial hardship, it was nothing compared to the many sacrifices soldiers and their families made. The Red Cross payments were a way for COs to support peace and ease suffering. Even so, people sometimes resented them.

The COs were required to continue to give money to the Red Cross after the war was over. David Goerzen paid $25 a month.