Draft card

Discussion in 'The Display Case' started by tonyb, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    EE650685-F8B2-462A-B34E-DF9145971578.jpeg Look what came in today’s mail.

    It’s my grandfather’s draft notice. The particulars, which I’d rather not share with the world, are on the reverse.

    My dear old ma has, in recent years, been sending me old family mementos — photos, mostly. She suspects, I think, that I am the likeliest among her surviving offspring to treasure these things, and to preserve them for future generations. I suspect she’s right about that.
     
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  2. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    I am most thankful that my father was ruled 4F as he had both a bad back and really poor eyesight and deemed not soldier material........otherwise a good chance I would not have been born. My grandfather went off to WW1 shortly after impregnating my father's mother. He joined the Black Watch and got shot in France. So my father came within a month or two of not being born......bullets dodged and bullets not.
     
  3. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
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    Dear old ma tells me that her dad, a father of four and a worker in an essential occupation who was therefore all but exempt from conscription, would occasionally during the war get a snootful and announce that he was gonna go down to the recruitment center and sign up.
     
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  4. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    So I take it your paternal grandfather was mortally injured in France, with your maternal grandmother pregnant with your father back home?
     
  5. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    My grandfather was wounded in France, they patched him up and then sent him to Palestine....he met his end there. So my father never met his father and was raised by his mother....so no, both mother and father were paternal. My maternal grandmother was married to the same man for 60 some years. My father had a bible that his father sent to him from Palestine ....my brother now has the bible.
     
  6. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Yeah, I miswrote — put a “m” where I shoulda put a “p.”
     
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  7. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I often wonder how many reserved occupation men were subject to the same abuse as conscientious objectors? (My understanding is that I myself fall in a reserved occupation, though at closing in on 47 in the Autumn, I'm now too old to have been conscripted had the war broken out today- i.e. I've hit that age at which an awful lot of people start to oddly think conscription a good idea. ;) ) The Bevan Boys were often treated shamefully over here (up to and including that for many years they were even snubbed in the Remembrance parades).

    A great, great uncle of mine ended up in the Somme at the age of fifteen. Saw his best mate - same age, they joined up together, have his head blown clean off at the neck beside him in a trench, and then was captured and spent the rest of the Great War as a POW on a German farm. I'm told whatever came back a couple of years later wasn't really him any more, and never was again.
     
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  8. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
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    ^^^^^
    I never got the sense from my dear old ma or from my grandfather or any others of Mom’s birth family that he got any grief for not serving in the military. Although I did pick up a whiff of — I dunno — embarrassment? regret? on his part. Neither of those words quite describes it. He never was one to sit back and let others do the work. And I do believe that he believed in the cause. He had no academic credentials at all (not even a high school diploma, to the best of my knowledge), but he kept up on world and national events and was a strong union man and big FDR supporter. He clearly understood his place in the world, and how he got there, and who was on his side and who wasn’t. Politics wasn’t a game to him.
     
    Edward likes this.
  9. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    We had a story recently in the Era Day By Day thread about a conscientious objector in Brooklyn who was forcibly inducted into the Army -- even though he refused to take the oath -- and was thrown into the back of a truck and taken to Camp Upton. When he still refused to cooperate, he was taken incommunicado to a psychiatric hospital, where, as of April 10, 1941, he remains. It would seem that a lot of local draft boards let their power go to their heads, and some of them were on the take -- if a potential selectee was willing to provide a bit of cash consideration, strings could be pulled.

    There is also a lot of public shaming of professional athletes going on in the spring of 1941 -- Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers has gotten a lot of grief because he was initially deferred for flat feet, even though he didn't ask to be deferred. He'll finally go into the service in mid-summer, but he wasn't exactly excited about it. Ted Williams of the Red Sox, who, like Greenberg, has gone down as "an eager volunteer for his country," was actually not quite that -- he fought to stay out of the Army for both the 1941 and 1942 seasons, and it was only when he was mercilessly hounded and ridiculed by the Boston press as a slacker and a coward that he finally went.

    My grandfather was too young for WWI and too old for WWII, but I have his Explosives Handling Permit from his days unloading munitions as a longshoreman, and his Aircraft Warning Service card from his days sitting on top of the Full Gospel Church with a tin helmet, a pair of binoculars and a flask of rye waiting for enemy planes.
     
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