In times like these you sometimes have some extra time to read and so you come across info about WW2 that you never heard of. I for one didn’t know that during the war the drafted/conscripted Canadian personnel couldn’t be sent overseas against their will. At least not before 1944, if I understand it correctly. Before this, only volunteers could be shipped out. Apparently, these soldiers, who stayed in Canada were sometimes called ”zombies”, as a way of mocking or heckling them.
I had no idea about the Canadian system. Could anyone please tell me if this was the case with other countries, like New Zealand or Australia?
Post by Dave Homewood on May 12, 2020 20:20:32 GMT 12
Definitely not the case in New Zealand, and I had never hear of this.
In New Zealand all members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal New Zealand Navy were volunteers for the entire war. The New Zealand Army was also made up from volunteers from September 1939 through to July 1940 during which over 60,000 volunteered for the Army. The government introduced a ballot then which anyone who was 18 or over went into and they drew names every few months. But people continued to also volunteer without being dawn by ballot, especially those turning 18.
New Zealanders could not go overseas till they were 20 unless they had written permission by their parent or guardian so they could go at age 18 or 19. Mind you lots of 15 and 16 year olds went, after bluffing their way in!
But once you were in the military if told you were heading overseas you had no choice.
Those drawn in the ballot could appeal if they were in a reserved occupation, or if they were one of a select few weird religions that meant you were a conscientious objector. But the interesting thing in NZ was when someone won their appeal to not go into the Army, the Appeals Board usually directed them to join the Home Guard, so they did end up doing military service anyway in most cases.
Post by Dave Homewood on May 12, 2020 22:41:09 GMT 12
Not really sure if they did not carry a weapon if they were a "damned conchi"
Of course a lot of Conscientious Objectors in NZ did join the Army and other services as medics, and like Godfrey, many were very brave on the front lines from what I have been told. Veterans soldiers have told me that had medics who refused to touch a gun but were always there when needed and when the rest of the platoon was keeping its head down the medics ran into the fire to rescue wounded.
The 60,000 was only the beginning. By the war's end a total of 194,000 men and 10,000 women had apparently served in the NZ armed forces, of which about 65,000 were in the RNZAF, and 10,000 in the Navy. Of them 100,000 served overseas, on every front. On top of these people New Zealand's Home Guard also had over 100,000 men and women, so that accounts for around 300,000 in the Armed Forces. The rest, at home, were almost all involved in some way in the war effort, in the war industry making boots or woollen cloth or ammunition etc, and large scale food production to feed NZ and US troops in the Pacific plus to send to Britain, or building ships, etc. Everyone played a part. Those numbers don't really sound that big till you realise New Zealand only had a population of 1.6 million people in 1939.