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World War II - Seven Persons

Seven Persons - Once Hundred Sixty Acres and a Dream

Chapter 37

The word 'depression' had many meanings in the nineteen thirties. It was the condition of finances, the rate of wages, the availability of employment, the rate of improvement and especially the state of mind of many Canadians. There were few money-producing positions in the cities or in the country. Men looked for work everywhere but to no avail. Then they tried other regions. They rode the freight trains from coast to coast and back again. It was not unusual to see sixty and more men riding upon a freight train, as it passed through Seven Persons. The police gave up trying to stop them. Sometimes these wanderers would wave, as if in good humor, but the looks of utter despair on their faces, was saddening to see. At some centres the government did supply soup kitchens to keep these men alive. The number, who were maimed or killed, in their long dangerous trek, did not become part of the news and will remain an unrecorded tragedy.

In September of 1939, the Second World War was declared. It struck fear into the people of Seven Persons. The young men, and yes, the young women, too, were called to service, were trained and were sent overseas. Ironically, where there had been little Government assistance before, now there was money to move, feed, clothe and pay allowances to these people and their dependents and to equip a fighting force. War time did bring an economical revival to this farming area. Prices for food stuffs rose, the employment picture improved, factories and industries flourished and everyone had work and money.

Some of these who served in the services of World War 11 were:
Rom Bassett
*Carl Carlson - Killed in action
Lars Carlson
Clifford Crawford
Harry Crawford
Leonard Crawford
Floyd Eskestrand
Birger Hoseth
Mickey Leonard
Arthur Moore
Margaret Moore
Ben Conrad
Clarenance Heidinger
William Moore
Alfred Olson
Henry Olson
Myrtle Olson
August Romeike
Frank Romeike
Alvin Torgerson
Melvin Torgerson
*Arthur Wager - Killed in action
James Wager
Melvin Wager

Civilians helped in the war effort by buying Victory Bonds or War Saving Bonds, collecting re-usable materials such as scrap iron and scrap steel, aluminum, rubber, containers and cotton. Rationing was imposed and coupon books given out for sugar, butter, lard, meat, fats, gasoline and tires. A sugar coupon gave a purchaser the right to buy one pound of sugar every other week. This posed some problems for those who lived far from a food outlet and were accustomed to purchasing in large quantities. Gasoline rationing created some difficulties too. One could only remember that the people of the world had similar, and often much worse, experiences. It seems amusing that little items such as safety pins, elastic, flannelette and chocolate bars were curtailed from sale, and these items were missed.

For the young nation of Canada, still suffering from growing pains, the task of preparing for war seemed almost insurmountable. But Canadians were determined not to be outdone.

In the first month of recruiting, Canada's permanent force of 10,000 swelled to 70,000. On December 17, barely three months later, Canada's Ist Division arrived in Britian. Canadian forces trained long and hard and were soon to become some of the most distinguished in the whole Allied Command, playing key roles in such major campaigns as the six-year Battle of the Atlantic, the Battle of Britain, and the invasion of Normandy.

Canada's achievements at home were equally astounding. Prior to war, she had never manufactured a tank, a combat airplane, or even a machine gun. By 1942 she was producing 400 aircraft, 1,000,000 shells, 4,000 rifles and 10,000,000 rounds of ammunition a month, and launched a 10,000-ton cargo ship every four days.

With just one-half of one percent of the world's population, Canada became the fourth largest manufacturer of weapons and munitions. Her enormous contribution to the war effort cannot be exaggerated.

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Mary Tollestrup