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My Grandfather's Agricultural Deferment Letter


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#1 WW2HistoryGal

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 04:20 PM

My Italian grandfather didn't fight in the war - but two of his older brothers did (one in the Phillipines, one in France and Germany). Instead, he was given an agricultural deferment. I found it this weekend while home visiting my 91-year-old grandmother. I don't know how he felt about not serving in the military during the war - it was something I never asked him, and as he passed away in 2008, I probably will never know.

 

However, with so many men off serving, there was a critical need for farm laborers here in the United States. The US needed to feed all those troops - plus we were helping other countries by sending food, and would do this well after the war was over. High school kids and women were recruited to help. When German and Italians POWs were brought to America, they were put to work in the field, adding a vital labor source. 

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#2 LRusso216

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 06:40 PM

I have never seen a letter like that. I think your explanation makes sense. In Jeff's book on Mr. Marion he was offered a deferment because his job was important to the war effort. He enlisted instead. I'm not sure he ever had a letter like this. Thanks for adding this piece.

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#3 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 10:34 PM

Thanks for posting the deferment letter.  I have heard of them, but have never seen one.


Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
to remember that sacrifice, and offer some sacrifice for themselves if Freedom is threatened.

Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.


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#4 WW2HistoryGal

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 04:05 AM

You're welcome. I was very pleased to run across it. 

 

When Italian POWs were brought to a camp near my grandfather's farm, they went and picked them up to help harvest sugar beets, and as my grandfather and his dad spoke fluent Italian, there was no language barrier to worry about. I'm sure that was beneficial for both them and the POWs.


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#5 Coder

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 12:29 AM

Interesting to compare US procedures with British concerning what became known as "reserved occupations" in the UK. Whereas the US warned of the possible consequences - including potential conscription (aka "draft") - if the man concerned left/changed/was sacked from his job, the UK legislation provided for prohibiting the man from leaving his job so long as he/the job were deemed essential.

 

No mock heroics in volunteering as cannon fodder while the hard graft of sowing and reaping food - by no means only for the troops, but for ordinary people, women and children, as well as men.- remained to be done. I have no knowledge of the US farm mentioned in the OP, but in the UK, that graft could involve, in deep midwinter, rising at 6.00 am, or earlier, from a palliasse (straw-filled mattress, affectionately termed 'friendly donkey'), in an unheated room, to break ice from the pump in the yard to draw water to wash, make breakfast and whatever else was needed, then to go out in the fields to milk cows, feed livestock, clear ditches ... and so the day would go on, begun in the dark gloom and cold and ending the same way.

 

Why anyone should ever imagine that this was not serving one's country, as is implied in the OP, is completely beyond my comprehension.

 

To WW2HistoryGal's grandfather, and all who worked with him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant (Matthew, 25:21, AV).


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#6 WW2HistoryGal

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 04:32 PM

Interesting to compare US procedures with British concerning what became known as "reserved occupations" in the UK. Whereas the US warned of the possible consequences - including potential conscription (aka "draft") - if the man concerned left/changed/was sacked from his job, the UK legislation provided for prohibiting the man from leaving his job so long as he/the job were deemed essential.

 

No mock heroics in volunteering as cannon fodder while the hard graft of sowing and reaping food - by no means only for the troops, but for ordinary people, women and children, as well as men.- remained to be done. I have no knowledge of the US farm mentioned in the OP, but in the UK, that graft could involve, in deep midwinter, rising at 6.00 am, or earlier, from a palliasse (straw-filled mattress, affectionately termed 'friendly donkey'), in an unheated room, to break ice from the pump in the yard to draw water to wash, make breakfast and whatever else was needed, then to go out in the fields to milk cows, feed livestock, clear ditches ... and so the day would go on, begun in the dark gloom and cold and ending the same way.

 

Why anyone should ever imagine that this was not serving one's country, as is implied in the OP, is completely beyond my comprehension.

 

To WW2HistoryGal's grandfather, and all who worked with him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant (Matthew, 25:21, AV).

 

Thank you so much for this. Yes, it was hard work on their farm in western Nebraska (eastern Nebraska is easier to farm as they get more moisture). They had to irrigate crops (a back-breaking job in itself), work the fields, take care of the animals (they raised cows), and a whole host of other duties. My great-grandfather owned the farm at the time; then my grandfather took it over in the 50s; my father took it over in the late 70s; and now my brother is farming it. I'm proud of our farming legacy. :)


Author of Nebraska POW Camps: World War II Prisoners of War in the Heartland / Available from The History Press and Amazon.com

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