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Old 12-02-2013, 00:41
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Default Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Although also active in other nearby local areas, these fine folk from across the ocean operated in and around the village in the N.E. of Scotland where I grew up - Aboyne in Aberdeenshire.

There follows a number of excerpts relating to their activities.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Canadian Forestry Corps - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

No. 2 Company, Canadian Forestry Corps
District 2, Camp 29,
Ballogie No. 2 Aboyne

Canadian Mobilization Point - Westmount, Que
Mobilization Date - Jul 1940
Arrived in Scotland - 1 Mar 1941
Ceased Operations in Scotland - 1 Oct 1943
Camps Occupied in Scotland - Ballogie No. 2 Aboyne

The war created a crisis in wood supply for the United Kingdom. Pre-war domestic production covered only a small fraction of the timber needed to support the war effort. In addition to civilian requirements, it was estimated that every soldier needed five trees: one for living quarters, messing, and recreation; one for crates to ship food, ammunition, tanks, and so on; and three for explosives, gun stocks, coffins, ships, factories, and direct or indirect support for the fighting line.
Canadians stepped up to fill this need. During 1941 and 1942, thirty companies drawn from all regions of Canada, totalling 220 officers and 6,771 regulars, were deployed to Scotland.
---------------------------------------------------------------

Once again the British Government turned to Overseas Woodsman to assist in the war effort. Given their impressive record in World War One it was natural that they looked to Canada to provide forestry units once again. In May 1940 the Canadian Government decided to form a Canadian Forestry Corps. Twenty Companies were initially formed with ten more as the war progressed.
The financial agreement between the two Governments as similar to that in World War I. Canada would bear the cost of pay, allowances and pensions, all initial personal equipment, transport to and from the United Kingdom. The British Government paid for "all other services connected with equipment, work or maintenance" and certain others, including medical services. Canada covered the cost for Medical Officers and Britain paid for hospitalization.
The arrangement was unusual as it resulted in a Canadian Unit working for the British, who controlled the areas of work and disposal of the product, but Military operations of the C.F.C. was never surrendered by the Canadians and came under command of Canadian Military Headquarters in London. Even though the C.F.C. had to serve two masters, no serious problems ever resulted.
Mobilization centres for the Corp spanned all across Canada, and recruited both English and French speaking personnel. Many of the volunteers were veterans of World War One, including the Corp's Commander, Brigadier- General J.B. White. Many of the men carried out the same duties as they did in civilian life, such as loggers, black smiths, lawyers, store man, cooks and clerks. The big difference between the new Corp and their World War One counter parts were the new Corp were considered Combat Troops.
---------------------------------------------------------------

On reaching their numbers No. 2 Coy then went from Westmount Barracks 30 August 1940 to Westmount Station and proceeded 2356 hours by rail from Westmount to Quebec City for military training at nearby Valcartier Camp, Quebec. There they and the other Companies would have had 5 to 7 months military training. After completion of training the men travelled by train to Halifax for embarkation, where they joined other units to make the crossing of the North Atlantic in convoy. The crossing itself was about 9 days. They disembarked at a Clyde estuary port, whence they proceeded by train and lorries to their Scottish Camps.
The fact that considerable numbers of the CFC were French-speaking may have accounted for a few who chose to remain mostly in the vicinity of the camps when off duty, but this was not a real; barrier for most such individuals according to local respondents nor did the experience of No. 2 Company at New Year's 1942 indicate this.
At the end ten of the companies went to the mainland in the Invasion of Normandy, to cut timber there. Ten companies stayed in Scotland to work at their saw mills. Ten companies were disbanded and went back to Canada to form units to cut fuel wood. The No. 2 Coy was one of the ten companies that went back to Canada to form up five fuel wood cutting units in mid-October 1943 and were set to cut fuel wood. However a lot of men were transferred from one company to another depending on where that soldier was needed.
Also about 700 men were transferred to other units as well.
---------------------------------------------------------------

Firth of Clyde is where the ship with the men came in to disembark at Gourock.
Then they caught a train to Aboyne Railway Station and then took a lorry Camp 29, Ballogie, Aboyne
District No. 2 Headquarters was at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
---------------------------------------------------------------

The No.2 Coy brought with them the most up-to-date logging equipment then available in Canada. They brought a standard medium type rotary mill with a capacity of 1500-2000 bd. Ft. An hour or c. 8,000 cu. Ft a week/3-5-4-7 cm an hour or 227 cm a week. (The British Forestry Commission also provided the company with a Scotch mill or bench, but these were not popular with the Canadians.) Power was supplied by 100-horsepowe Diesel generators. Logging equipment included TD9 caterpillar tractors, lorries, sulkies (pneumatic-tired arches), angle dozers for road making, and two and three drum winches for high-lead logging. They also were equipped with a variety of transportation vehicles, four tractors, two sulkies, one motorcycle, and originally six bicycles.
The greatly increased volume of timber products resulting from CFC operations placed considerable strain on railway facilities. The most common difficulty was a shortage of wagons when needed, but sidings also had to be improved greatly and new loading banks or platforms constructed. This was particularly the case on Deeside where CFC and Newfoundland camps produced the greatest regional flow of timber products. Even though a new loading platform was constructed at Aboyne railway station in July 1941, congestion occurred because No. 2 and No. 3 Companies had to use the same facility.
The military role of the CFC as distinct from its industrial role was important, particularly during the period of possible German invasion after the fall of France. Personnel were allowed to wear civilian clothing while working, but uniforms were required for military activities and when on leave. As combatant troops they received additional training on Saturdays after their week's work in the woods. This included practice on rifle ranges and tactical exercises with other military units. Periodically they participated in weekend military schemes in their areas. CFC lorries often were called on to transport personnel of other units as well as its own.
Although CFC companies were not directly involved in actual hostilities with the enemy in Scotland, they often were not far distant from bombings. Ballogie Camp No. 2 and the whole area around was shaken by the air bombing of Aberdeen on the night of 21 April 1943.
Companies usually worked in two sections, "one cutting 'in the bush' and bringing out the timber, the other sawing it into lumber in the company mill, and both using mostly Canadian mechanical equipment," The relative openness of the cultivated Scottish forests in contrast to the tangled undergrowth of most natural Canadian pleased the CFC. Nevertheless, pressure had to be applied to Canadian fallers to cut trees close to the ground in Scottish fashion, rather than higher up, which left unsightly stump-fields so common in home forestry operations. The felling crew consisted of three men, two sawing down and one trimming or limbing. Hand saws and axes were the tools employed. The trees involved reflected the variety of Scottish plantations, with Scot pine, spruce and larch particularly common, but also Douglas fir and hardwoods on occasion.
The frequent alternation of rain and snow proved unexpected for many of the Canadians, accustomed to a more continuous snow season. Men's hands were often cut up by handling wet lumber in raw cold weather. Most of the area where they were working in Scotland lay north of 57degrees N, a higher latitude location than most forest operations in Canada-approximately the latitude of Mile 150 on the Alaska Highway (some 100 milesé160 kilometres north of Fort St. John, B.C.), Fort McMurray, Alberta, Lynn Lake, Manitoba, and the Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay. Consequently, the longer winter darkness period in Scotland was an inconvenience for the felling teams at the extreme ends of the working day and working hours had to be adjusted to seasonal light conditions. (Companies worked a full-hour day, with precise hours decided by individual company commanders.
---------------------------------------------------------------

Even before felling could begin most companies had to introduce an access road network in the forests to enable their mechanized equipment to be used, in contrast to the widespread use of horses in prewar local forests. Road building and maintenance continued to occupy part of the CFC personnel even after the initial period.
The heavy-laden Canadian lumber lorries from mills to shipping points placed a great deal of strain on local roads and access roads even when they were gravelled, particularly during rainy periods.
---------------------------------------------------------------


In addition to meeting its primary objective the Canadian Forestry Corps' presence in Scotland was influential in other ways: as a defensive element in the earlier years and as a social factor in many smaller communities. It was common practice for the forestry workers to pilfer some of the vehicle fuel ration to give to the local taxis in exchange to a lift to the village to the bar and dances.
Relations with some other units were not always friendly. The 174 Field Ambulance unit refused to admit men of No. 2 Company from Ballogie Camp No. 2, to their dance in the Victory Hall at Aboyne on 12 April 1941.
In the earlier phases of the CFC's presence in the Highlands the few infractions of the law were handled with tolerance by local authorities. At Glentanar Camp on 2 June 1941 "two local constables called this morning regarding the fracas which occurred last Saturday night at Kincardine O'Neil when No. 2 and 3 Companies fought No. 4 Company men. The constables were very decent about it however, only insisting that it should not happen again.
On Dominion Day 1941, No. 2, 3 and 4 Companies held a Sports Meet on Aboyne village green which was specially decorated for the day. The pipe band of the 5th Battalion Black Watch was also in attendance. After supper in the camps, the companies returned to Aboyne in the evening for a street dance (another novelty to the locals), followed by a sing-song.
A drumhead service by the CFC on Aboyne green in May 1942 was attended by a detachment of the 156 (L) Field Ambulance RAMC and the pipe band of the Royal Scots Fusiliers from Banchory, as well as by members of all companies in District No.2.

The first Field Day of 1942 for District No. 2 at Aboyne saw all Deeside companies participating (Nos. 2, 3, 4, 13, 16, 22, 24 and 25), as well as the RAMC unit stationed there. The band of the Royal Scots Fusiliers also attended. Once again, after the events and supper in the camps, the troops returned for a street dance, despite the rain.
---------------------------------------------------------------

Members of the CFC were seen in uniform regularly at local parades in support of varied wartime causes. In addition to their distinctive cap badges and shoulder patches, from Mar 1943 the CFC were identified by a green triangle below the 'Canada' flash on the upper arm of the battle dress. Church parades also brought them to the public's attention as the No. 2 Coy made use of the local church buildings as well as holding religious services in the camp.
---------------------------------------------------------------

No.2 Company arrived at Ballogie Camp No. 2 on 1 March 1941. On 7 March, thirty- five of the men attended a local dance where they were "well received by the very friendly inhabitants," and the following day the officers' mess received a case of liquor from a Montrose man.
The CFC was apparently well liked in the Scottish Highlands. The men became active participants in local functions, from fundraising to staging Christmas parties for the local children. Many times, scrap wood mysteriously fell from lorries beside homes in need of fuel. A notable tribute to the CFC was paid by Laura Lady Lovat when she stated, "you Canadians may be cutting the Scots firs of the Highlands, but in Highland hearts you are planting something far more lasting".
Several camps had garden patches to provide fresh vegetables for the men. Swill from the messes was sold to local farmers and the income spent on the messes, or some companies kept pigs and the swill was fed to them. On reaching maturity the pigs were sold to the RASC. Rather than have to purchase young pigs, No.1 Company at Cawdor North Camp decided to raise its own, but discovered pigs do not always obey army orders: "17 March 1942 - Delighted to notice that one of our sows is pregnant. We had come to the conclusion that her several trips to the boar had provided her with diversion only."
---------------------------------------------------------------

In World War Two, due the impact in the UK of the U-boat blockade and labour shortages, twenty companies of the Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC) were recruit in 1940 and another ten in 1941/42. 11 BCT 16th March'04.
These companies were shipped to Scotland and stationed in camps north of the Highland line. By the time they left in 1943, they had felled around 230,000 acres of timber.

Birse parish was heavily involved. Ballogie was one of the few locations in the Highlands to have two camps, reflecting the large volume of mature timber there. These companies also felled in Finzean and Glen Dye, and together these locations made a disproportionately large contribution compared to other areas to the overall volume of timber felled by the CFC in Scotland (Wonders, 1995). There were four other camps on Deeside.

The companies in Ballogie were Company 2, which was recruited in Westmount, Quebec, and Company 3, which was recruited in Quebec City. This company had 20% French speakers, half of them not fluent in English. Both companies were recruited in July 1940 and arrived in Scotland in March and April 1941. Camps had been constructed in advance for them.

Company 2 had its camp on Murley, north of the farm buildings (OS ref. 569942), while Company 3's camp was on Midstrath, south of the farm buildings (OS ref.586948). The companies had 200 men each who were housed in wooden huts holding 14 men each. In addition to over a dozen huts and a recreational hall, there were other buildings, the sawmills and timber yards. There were also new roads into many woods, with one to the north west of Bogiesheil Lodge still known as the Canadian Road and recorded as such on the Ordinance Survey.

1947 aerial photographs held by Ballogie Estate, show the extensive scale of the (then former) camps and associated tracks. The Estate also has detailed records of the areas affected by the felling.

The impact of the CFC was not just on the woodlands. There was also a social impact. Four hundred men was a large addition to the parish and stories are still recalled by older residents.

A striking social statistic is that 38 'local' marriages took place or an estimated 25% of all the single men in the two companies - Company 2 had 16 marriages and Company 3 had 22.

No research has been undertaken to try and ascertain how many of the marriages were to "daughters of Birse", rather than those from elsewhere locally who might, for example, have been met at the dances in Aboyne.

There were, of course, also relationships that resulted in a child but not marriage - as testified in a letter from Canada to the Deeside Piper earlier this year (21.1.04) entitled "Looking for long lost sister", in which the story is told of a Deeside girl having a daughter by the author's father when the father was serving with the CFC at Blackhall Camp, near Banchory.
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During World War Two, the fabric of No. 2 Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps drew heavily on the English-speaking sons of Argenteuil, leveraging their skills with the axe and the crosscut saw, honed on the family bush farms of their native county. No. 16 Company was formed around their French-speaking "bucheron" counterparts.

The war created a crisis in wood supply for the United Kingdom. Pre-war domestic production covered only a small fraction of the timber needed to support the war effort. In addition to civilian requirements, it was estimated that every soldier needed five trees: one for living quarters, messing, and recreation; one for crates to ship food, ammunition, tanks, and so on; and three for explosives, gun stocks, coffins, ships, factories, and direct or indirect support for the fighting line.

Canadians stepped up to fill this need. During 1941 and 1942, thirty companies drawn from all regions of Canada, totalling 220 officers and 6,771 regulars, were deployed to Scotland.
--------------------------------------------------------------

CFC No. 2 Company, initially located in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, was disbanded in late 1943, but most of the personnel were reassigned to other companies, combat engineering units or actual combat regiments, in preparation for an all-out assault on Europe.

After D-Day (June 6, 1944), the CFC delivered timber to the allied invasion forces in Europe. Due to the shortage of hold space in ships, logs were transported to the English ports of Southampton and Barry and formed into huge rafts. The Royal Engineers, originally tasked with building the rafts, relinquished the job to the more able Canadian foresters. During July and August 1944, 77 square-timber and 54 round-timber rafts were built. The huge rafts were moved with tugboats across the English Channel to the Continent in the late summer of 1944.

Following the successful allied campaign in Normandy, ten mobile CFC companies were deployed to the Continent. Ten static companies remained in Scotland to supply reinforcements when needed and to continue cutting timber. While the Canadian First Army was spearheading the liberation of Holland, the mobile CFC companies followed the allied armies from France into Belgium.
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After VE Day (May 8, 1945), the CFC carried on operations in the forests at thirty-three sites, over a distance of almost 500 miles, from Bruges, Belgium to Bad Segeberge, Germany. New timber operations were started in the forests near Osnabruck, Minden, Bassum, Hanover and Hamburg while some companies remained in the Reichswald and Rhine areas. Two lumber yards were set up along the Rhine, at Pfazdorf on the west bank and Drevenack on the east bank, to store and season lumber prior to shipping. During June 1945, it was necessary to concentrate once again on piling materials, this time for the structures being erected over the Dortmund-Ems Canal and the Weser River.

The CFC was completely disbanded by November 1945, and the "Sawdust Fusiliers" returned to Canada. However, the mixed forests of maple, beech, spruce and white pine of their native lower Laurentians could no longer hold some of these men. Their horizons had been so expanded by their wartime experiences that the only remaining forestry challenges for them were in the giant Douglas fir stands of British Columbia.
..........................(The article continues)

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Source Ancestry.com where the full article can be read together with a cnnsiderable number of images relating to the CFC and their activities in and around Aboyne.



Little h
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Last edited by harry.gibbon : 12-02-2013 at 01:00.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:10
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Lost Deeside Deeside logging’s finest hour remembered

Published on Wednesday 14 December 2011 11:48

As proud as I am of Scotland’s many achievements, I was recently surprised to learn that during WWII, Scotland outperformed Nazi Germany in cut timber production by 20:1.

The twentieth-century style of warfare required five trees’ worth of wood per fighting man, for everything from temporary buildings and packing cases to high-explosives ingredients. Yet, in 1939, 96% of Britain’s wood was imported.

Most came from the USSR, the Baltic states and Finland, and so was even more severely disrupted by the Nazi conquest of the Baltic than the Great War supply had been by Imperial U-boat attacks. After Dunkirk, school pupils as young as 14 were paid 15s a week to fell trees here.

The Women’s Timber Corps or ‘Lumber Jills’, who trained at Park House on Deeside, were better lumberjacks than the children, but their numbers were small.

Fortunately, the British government’s urgent call for loggers from throughout the Empire was answered by nearly 7,000 Canadians.

The 1,400 men of Canadian Forestry Corps District 2 (Deeside and Southesk) came from Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. They were based at Ballogie, Glen Tanar, Blackhall, Abergeldie and Mar Lodge. Their colonel stayed at Guisachan House, Aboyne until August 1941, and thereafter at Struan Lodge.

Events laid on for the Canadians included a concert at Dunecht House, performances by the Feughside Dance Band, Ballater sheepdog trials, and a dance at Crathie attended by Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Hockey was also attempted on Aboyne Loch, but the ice was too thin.

The usual army keep-fit exercises were totally unnecessary: two men using axes could fell a tree in 70 seconds, and many local roads that are still in use were greatly improved, or first built, by the Corps. But this laudable efficiency was offset by wild behaviour.

Drunkenness, poaching, and even murder were not unknown, and there was a huge inter-company brawl in Kincardine O’Neil in 1941.

The Canadians hated Deeside’s rapid alternation of snow with rain, and its winter daylight hours as short as those of the Yukon.

Disappointment cut both ways, as Scottish landlords criticised the unsightly stump-fields which typical Canadian working practices produced.

Nevertheless, relations between the Canadians and local people remained excellent, and scrap wood was often sneaked to needy local families to use as firewood.

Of the logging camps themselves, only overgrown sawdust piles are left, and today the CFC is unknown even to most Canadians.

Lost Deeside is published by Birlinn at £14.99 and is available at Yeadon’s of Banchory.

Source deesidepiper.co.uk


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Old 12-02-2013, 08:36
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

A REMINISCENCE-THE CAMPS

The Canadian Forestry Corps. was composed of professional woodsmen and was first organized during World War One at the request of the UK to help meet Britain’s timber needs during the war. It was re-formed in World War Two to play the same role. Most of its activities were centred in the Highlands of Scotland during the latter conflict. There were 33 camps scattered in north-eastern Scotland.

Last winter I had taken a walk to a local former sawmill and accommodation block in the forest, which housed some of the CFC. I first explored this building about 20 years ago when it was much more intact than it is now. The track along to it is very overgrown now and I had to cross a old wooden bridge with a sign saying “Danger Do not Cross”. As the bridge was pretty much covered in snow it was a wee bit tricky to see where the holes were and where the planks were still intact, but I reckoned that if the worst came to the worst and I fell through it wouldn’t be a big fall and it was only a wee burn.

Records of the local camps are patchy and for the one closest to the village is further muddled by the fact it is known by 3 different names. The official war record name is “Lovat No 1, Teanacoil” – there was also a Lovat No 2. Following the war it was passed to the Polish Resettlement Corps and became known as the Poles Camp and/or Paterson’s Camp as it became a sawmill run by a Polish gentleman who took his wife’s surname. Unfortunately they are no photos of what it looked like during the war.In some places the work camps were set up ready to receive the forestry workers, but in others one of the first tasks for the CFC was to build their accommodation block and sawmill. They’d use a mobile sawmill to obtain the timber for the building projects.
These were built rapidly and as temporary structures – as were the timber mills – and as concrete was in short supply, they were mainly built from wood with no foundations. This means there is very little evidence of these in the woods now. Being constructed of thin timber construction, the accommodation must have been cold in winter.

In addition to meeting its primary objective the Canadian Forestry Corps’ presence in Scotland was influential in other ways: as a defensive element in the earlier years and as a social factor in many smaller communities. It was common practice for the forestry workers to pilfer some of the vehicle fuel ration to give to the local taxis in exchange to a lift to the village to the bar and dances.Other structures which were associated with the CFC were narrow gauge railways and aerial ropeways or Blondins which were used to transport the cut logs. Locally it is known that several narrow gauge railways transported the timber from the forest to sawmills in Beauly and the mainline railway station at Beauly. From here it went south to be used for pit props and for ammunition boxes, buildings and props for the trenches during WW1. There is an archaeology group currently working in the woods hoping to trace the line of some of these railways.One of the local guys at the meeting I attended remembered the camps. He spoke about him and friends playing on the zip-lines and the railways wagons when the forestry workers were off duty.


http://swanscot.wordpress.com/2011/0...e-local-woods/


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Old 12-02-2013, 12:12
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Compulsary reading for all Deeside loons Harry.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:38
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

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Originally Posted by johnny07 View Post
Compulsary reading for all Deeside loons Harry.
.....lest anyone thinks Johnny's post was some kind of insult, fear not, the terminology is well understood by those who speak the local 'Doric' dialect....even wiki knows that it is fine, see:-

Doric dialect (Scotland)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Doric, the popular name for Mid Northern Scots[1] or Northeast Scots,[2] refers to the dialects of Scots spoken in the northeast of Scotland. There is an extensive body of literature, mostly poetry, ballads, and songs.

louns an quines (louns an queans) - Lads and lassies, boys and girls. (NB loun or loon has no derogatory connotation in Doric)

OK, with that clarification - back to the thread topic.

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Old 12-02-2013, 13:04
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC)

In both World War 1 (WW1) and World War 2 (WW2) the Canadian government formed the Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC), in answer to the British government's request for overseas woodsmen to cover a workforce shortage in Britain.

In WW2, the CFC consisted of around 30 companies that were sent to work, mainly in Scotland, but also elsewhere in Europe.

Although a military unit, the CFC’s main task was to cut down trees, not fight. They focused on recruiting men who were already experienced in forestry; few had military experience.

As the unit did not exist as part of the pre-war army it had to be recruited from scratch; a soldier’s rank therefore often depended on his previous status in the forestry industry.

“I remember in Haileybury driving my commanding officer to a small town to recruit Bob Smith, who had been recommended as a good blacksmith...Smith was interested and was immediately taken on strength as a sergeant because the establishment called for it”
Nicholson, 1962

This system worked well - those working in senior jobs in the wood cutting operations were used to leading men and organising work.

In WW2, unlike WW1, the Corps was given military training and each company was assigned specific defensive roles in the area they were working. In regard to wood operations, the Corps took orders from the Home Crown Timber Production Department of the British Ministry of Supply.

In respect to military operations, however, it still answered to the Canadian government. This situation of answering to two masters could have proved difficult but no serious problems resulted.

source Forestry Commission Scotland



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Old 12-02-2013, 16:15
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Talking Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry.gibbon View Post
.....lest anyone thinks Johnny's post was some kind of insult, fear not, the terminology is well understood by those who speak the local 'Doric' dialect....even wiki knows that it is fine, see:-

Doric dialect (Scotland)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Doric, the popular name for Mid Northern Scots[1] or Northeast Scots,[2] refers to the dialects of Scots spoken in the northeast of Scotland. There is an extensive body of literature, mostly poetry, ballads, and songs.

louns an quines (louns an queans) - Lads and lassies, boys and girls. (NB loun or loon has no derogatory connotation in Doric)

OK, with that clarification - back to the thread topic.

Little h
Pheww, Thanks Harry, but everyone on the forum knows that I would never say anything derogatory. Would I ? It was strange as just before I read your original post I was out in the forest with my trusty chainsaw.
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Old 12-02-2013, 18:02
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Thanks for this fascinating thread Harry!

I thought I knew my Canadian military history fairly well, and was in fact aware of the Forestry Corps, but had no idea of the size of the Corps nor the details of its service which you have provided.

Thanks again!
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Old 12-02-2013, 20:25
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

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Thanks for this fascinating thread Harry!

I thought I knew my Canadian military history fairly well, and was in fact aware of the Forestry Corps, but had no idea of the size of the Corps nor the details of its service which you have provided.

Thanks again!
Glad you like the thread topic Tim, I had an inclination that it would be of interest to you.

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Old 12-02-2013, 21:05
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Not the Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC) but civilian loggers of the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit

---------------------------------------------------------------
The greatly increased volume of timber products resulting from CFC operations placed considerable strain on railway facilities. The most common difficulty was a shortage of wagons when needed, but sidings also had to be improved greatly and new loading banks or platforms constructed. This was particularly the case on Deeside where CFC and Newfoundland camps produced the greatest regional flow of timber products. Even though a new loading platform was constructed at Aboyne railway station in July 1941, congestion occurred because No. 2 and No. 3 Companies had to use the same facility.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The above, is a section of text taken from the 3rd excerpt in the thread opening post. The reference to the Newfoundland camps gives the lead into several the following excerpt, taken from an article relating to the activities of loggers from that Territory. These loggers, who were not CFC men, operated from camps near the village of Ballater, some 10-12 miles west of Aboyne.


An article from the “Illustrated London News” by W.J.Passingham
(8 February 1941)
We Visit a Scottish Lumber Camp
Where dense forests of Scotch pine trees clothe the steep mountains on both sides of the River Dee at Ballater, great snow-covered spaces are steadily widening over the slopes to show where the Newfoundland lumberjacks are working. There are piles of snow flung high on either side of the little bridge over the Dee where sledge wagons laden with timber are drawn by caterpillar tractors to the saw mills just outside thevillage.

The Newfoundland lumberjacks have been cutting down about 3,000 trees a week – roughly 10,000 cubic feet of timber – for the British war effort during the first year of their work in the Scottish Highlands.

They came from Newfoundland at the invitation of the British Government, when timber supplies from the Baltic countries were cut off and shipping space was needed for other and more urgent commodities.

From Newfoundland experienced lumberjacks answered the call – French Canadians, Indians, English, Irish and Scots – and came to Great Britain on the next ship that sailed from St. John’s.

Mr. Edgar Baird, manager of the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit, was asked to establish his men in camps scattered about the Scottish Mountains where the great pines grow. Ballater became his headquarters, and out in the surrounding pine forests ninety men prepared to make a road.

Timber merchants from all parts of Great Britain came to see whether there was enough timber in Scotland to make the lumber business there a commercial proposition. What they saw impressed them, but the visitors were puzzled most by the Newfoundland methods of making a road up the mountainside to reach the tall timber. The lumberjacks began by cutting timber right away, and stacking it in piles along each side of the proposed road.

“When it comes the snow will make the road,” the lumberjacks said confidently, and went on building log huts and cutting trees in their own expert manner.

These piles of timber grew in number, and at first no attempt was made to move them. There was no road until the snow came, and then fourteen Garron ponies – especially suited to work in mountainous country – arrived at the camp and were installed in the comfortable stables the lumbermen had already prepared from Scotch pine logs. They harnessed the ponies to strong sleds, and after a few days the rough ground between the piles of timber became a firm, smooth road leading down to where the caterpillar tractors waited to take over the hauling operations.

And today, a traveler out of Ballater, rounding the wide curve of this road, will come suddenly upon a scene he might well mistake for a typical Canadian lumber camp.

There are log huts built by the Newfoundlanders, set in a forest clearing and exposed to the bitter weather on mountain sides, which for warmth and comfort surpass anything suburban builders have produced. Moss gathered from the forest is used to stuff between the rough hewn logs and keep the huts draught proof, and spending a few minutes inside them from the bitter weather one realizes that English and Scots alike have not yet learned how to keep themselves warm.

Food is of the best, and well cooked, but different from what the lumberjacks are accustomed to at home. The pickled beef and pork they get at home are preferred even to fresh Scotch beef. In the Newfoundland forests, too, the camp cooks make all the bread, pies, cakes and pastry needed, and lumberjacks are apt to suspect anything which comes from a baker’s shop. “The food’s good,” they say, “but we like it best when we cook it ourselves.”

“You can’t have everything,” one lumberjack pointed out, “and we’re happy here because look where we will around these forests we find scenes which remind us of home. It’s a bit warmish in these parts, but as far as scenery is concerned the place might be a little bit of Newfoundland itself. What we have really missed here in the last twelve months is our fishing season.”

“Most of us are fishermen as well as lumbermen. Logging at home doesn’t begin until October, when we get the snow to make easy roads, and it ends with the spring. We go out on the Grand Banks fishing all through spring and summer. Others among us are seal fishermen and trappers.”

“But we’re all glad to be here and doing something to beat the enemy,” the manager, Mr. Edgar Baird, said earnestly. “The men are working well, but we get soldiers, sailors and airmen on leave up here from the village – and uniforms look good to the boys. Several of them have waited until their contract expired, and then joined the Forces.”

“Every lumberjack here signs a six months’ contract, after which he is free to go back home, or stay here and do what he likes. The basic rate of pay for lumberjacks in Newfoundland is two dollars a day with free board, and they get the same here – which amounts to nine shillings a day. It is a great mistake for an experienced lumberjack to think he can do more for the Empire by joining the Forces.”

“They are needed here on work of national importance, and cannot be replaced. Moreover, it is not easy to train a man, however strong and fit he may be, to become a good lumberjack.”

The felling of trees is only a very small part of the work in producing logs. Trimming a tree quickly, for example, is a much more difficult operation. But the biggest problem is the transportation of trees from the spot where they are felled to where they are needed, and this applies especially in steep mountain districts.”

“How do you manage to make a tree fall exactly where you want it?” I asked. “That’s easy enough,” Mr. Baird said, and led the way to where a tall tree was marked for felling. A grizzled lumberjack swung an axe in two quick strokes, and a deep notch appeared near the base of the tree. Then he used a bow-saw on the opposite side of the trunk – cutting swiftly toward the notch. “The tree will begin to fall from the notch,” Mr. Baird explained. And where the notch was cut the tall pine bent sharply and fell. I looked about me then, and saw that every fallen tree in the vicinity lay in the same direction ready for transport.

“We try to be as good at felling trees as the Scotsman,” Mr. Baird said wistfully, “but we can’t beat him for economy in timber.”

“What becomes of all the timber?” I wondered. “It goes to the mines for pit props,” he answered, “but enough is kept to make obstruction poles in fields and on beaches all over the country to prevent enemy airplanes landing. The big logs go to the sawmills. The best trees, tallest and straightest, are saved for telegraph poles along the big trunk roads. At one Scottish camp alone they fell about five hundred trees a year for poles.”

“And what about re-forestation?” I said. “Your men will eventually chop down every tree in Scotland.” Mr. Baird grinned, shook his head. “Replanting takes place about three to four years after felling,” he said. “Don’t worry about the future. In thirty years time there will be more timber in Scotland than there is now.”

There are many other lumbermen from Northern Europe who also see a great future in Scottish timber – men who were in the vast Baltic trade before war stopped all exports to Great Britain.

Latvians, Finns and Russians who foresaw the war and the ruin of their business, came to England while there remained an opportunity to do so. Thus have lumbermen from Europe and the New World met in Scotland. In fact, the sawmills on the opposite bank of the River Dee, which deals with timber felled by the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit at Ballater, is managed and directed by Latvian lumbermen.

Source Ballater Historic Forestry Project Press Articles (first PDF).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Note; there are several further links (in blue) on the left/top of the page which, when opened give further accounts and a number of images of the camps, loggers and logging operations.


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The Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit

Remembering the contribution to the war effort of Newfoundland loggers

Royal Deeside is blessed with many fine forests that add so much to the stunning scenery of this wonderful part of Scotland. Some of these forests date back to the historic and ancient woods of Caledonia.

Pannanich Wood on the south side of the river Dee, which clings to the hillside high above the town of Ballater, is one such wood. This wood, which is under Forestry Commission control, is the setting for a project which is attempting to recreate history as well as offering recreational usage of the forest to the public at large.

During the dark days of the Second World War this wood was one of many throughout the country, and indeed the rest of Britain, that was logged by members of the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit. The unit had been formed in 1939 after a dramatic appeal from the British government to many places throughout the world, including Newfoundland, for experienced forestry workers. These seasoned lumberjacks were desperately needed as most of the native loggers had been called up to join the armed forces to fight against the Nazis.

Timber was vitally needed to help the war effort and in these early days of the war, Germany had successfully cut off most of the regular imports from the Baltic countries. There was, therefore, a great need to use the timber from the many forests throughout the UK. The coal industry, the key to British success in the war, required pit props; telegraph poles were also needed to replace those destroyed in bombing raids; and of course wood in the early days of the war was needed to make obstruction poles to prevent enemy landings on the beaches if there was to be an invasion.

The Newfoundlanders came across the Atlantic in great numbers, bringing with them some different working methods from those used by the local loggers and estate workers. Mechanised tractors were used to support the more traditional ponies to bring down the felled timbers off the high ground. Perhaps because they were used to snowy conditions in their homelands they also used snow to aid transportation of the timber when winter set in, much to everyone’s surprise.

In 2005 a group of local individuals from Ballater came together to form the Ballater Historic Forestry Project to ensure that the little known, but dramatic, story of these brave men came to the attention of the wider population. Their aim was threefold – to attempt to rebuild two log cabins on the original site of the camp; to make a film about the unit; and to produce a leaflet on the ‘Lumberjack Trail’.

This trail, which has been created jointly by the Forestry Commission and the Cairngorms National Park, offers a circular route of just over a mile, from the town up into Pannanich Wood to the site of the camp. It is a walk that allows people to experience the natural beauty of the forest, its wildlife and also to walk in the footsteps of the wartime loggers.

The group have managed to uncover some of the original foundations of the camp and have placed information boards at the site of the camp that the Newfoundlanders built. The camp itself at Dalmochie, called Glenmuick, was home to 200 men and was built by their own hands. They sensibly chose a site close to an old drovers’ road with a nearby supply of water, in the heart of the forests that they planned to log, on Pannanich Hill and Craig Coilleach.

They were adept at building log cabins and made extensive use of the raw materials that grew all around them. They felled logs and built huts which they insulated by using moss from the forest floor. A visiting reporter in 1941 described these huts as being ‘warmer and more comfortable than many of the houses constructed in suburban Britain’. These cabins provided sleeping accommodation for up to twenty men; the camp itself had bunkhouses, wash and staff rooms, as well as a camp office. The Newfoundlanders also managed to set up a simple irrigation system from a burn high above the camp to allow them to have fresh running water. The camp also had its own blacksmith’s shop and stables.

Having sorted out their accommodation, the Newfoundlanders set about their logging operations in the forest. Soon they were felling the predominately Scots pine trees at a rate of three thousand a week. The trees had been planted in the early 1900s and were still relatively young, but it was their tall straight lines that made them well suited for conversion into pit props.

Sensibly, the Newfoundland lumberjacks started cutting down the trees immediately above the road, thus ensuring that the trees around their camp remained, offering protection against the elements. At the start of their logging operations, because of the proximity to their camp, the method of transporting the logs off the hill was relatively straightforward. As the loggers worked their way further up the hill they started to use both ponies and then the giant caterpillar tractors that they had brought with them to drag the logs off the steep slopes and down to the waiting trucks, which then transported them on to the sawmill at Ballater.

The local people of Ballater and visiting timber merchants became fascinated with this different method of transporting logs off the hill but they were perplexed and confused when, as winter drew near, the Newfoundlanders stopped bringing the cut timber off the hill.

The autumn rains had turned their trails and tracks into muddy quagmires, unable to provide safe and sustainable routes for getting the logs down to Ballater. The loggers seemed to be unconcerned with this problem and continued to cut down the trees with great gusto. They stacked them high up on the hills close to where they grew.

As the log piles became steadily bigger those looking on had no idea what the Newfoundlanders had in mind. The first onset of heavy winter snows soon allowed them to show all and sundry just what they had been planning. The deep snow was used to literally slide the logs off the hillside on wooden sledges dragged by Garron ponies.
.................(the article continues)


Many, though, still wanted a chance to fight against the Nazi tyranny. Later the loggers did get their chance to serve by forming their very own Home Guard unit; this unit at its height had over 700 Newfoundlanders in its ranks. The men showed their commitment by spending most of their spare time training to defend the Highlands against a German invasion.

They trained on purpose-built assault courses and took part on many field exercises, but never had to face the enemy for real. Their commitment to Britain’s war effort could not be questioned; thirty-four graves in various lonely cemeteries throughout the country are testimony to this. The inclement weather and some fatal accidents while carrying out their vital and dangerous work are the reasons noted on many of the headstones that stand alone in these quiet country graveyards.

Two years was all it took to strip Pannanich wood and then the loggers moved on to other camps. By the war’s end a massive reforestation was required to make sure that these Scottish hillsides would return to their former glory. A mixture
of native Scots pine and imported Douglas fir were used, perhaps fittingly, allowing a North American presence to remain in the area years after the loggers had left.

Edgar Baird, the manager of the unit, was quoted at that time as saying that, following the replanting at Pannanich Wood, in 30 years’ time the hill would be unrecognisable as the barren, desolate place it was when the Newfoundlanders departed. For a period after this, Italian and German POWs took over the recently vacated cabins, thus offering yet another historical perspective to this Scottish woodland.

1200 loggers remained to help this reforestation process and continued to assist the forestry industry to get back to its pre-war production levels. In 1946 the unit was officially disbanded. By then many local workers had returned and taken over the forestry labours. The majority of the Newfoundlanders returned home, some with local girls, but a few were so taken by the Highlands that they actually married and settled in the area.
......................(the article continues)

PDF Source forestryjournal.co.uk


Note; Opening the link will reveal the full article and eight images showing the camp and logging activities.



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Old 12-02-2013, 23:24
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Harry, Tim and Jim:

I was aware of both the CFC and the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit but must admit I have not been exposed to any details before reading this thread. It adds a new dimension to my army background.

From the Canadian perspective, it is understandable that the CFC was part of the Canadian Army. It was a large organisation of Canadians employed overseas in support of the war effort in an active theatre. These men were on active service.

For the Newfoundlanders, the situation was different. Although a Dominion, it was under a Commission of Government, sponsored in part by the UK. The country had gone essentially bankrupt during the Great Depression. Thus, Newfoundland had no standing military forces and raised local defence units for wartime service. Units raised for service overseas were 125 Squadron, RAF and two artillery regiments serving as part of the Royal Artillery. Individuals served in the RN and many served in the Canadian Forces. There would be no repeat of the losses sustained by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in World War I. Hence, no infantry or quasi infantry units were formed.

The Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit was therefore a civilian organisation serving in the UK. It was comprised of experienced foresters and performed the same "static" functions as the CFC did in Scotland.

The memory of the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit has not been lost; however, it has not the same lustre as that of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. The losses sustained by the Regiment in the Battles of the Somme profoundly impacted the people of Newfoundland and still does today.

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Old 13-02-2013, 11:17
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Thanks Brian,

The formation of the Newfoundland Loggers volunteer units in our Home Guard Defense Force, by men who were already volunteers in their other guise (logging), whilst they being from an overseas territory, is IMHO, to their eternal credit.

The following excerpt relates to the Home Guard activities of the Newfoundland Logger volunteer units, who operating near Carrbridge, in the forests around the NW area of what is now the Gairngorms National Park:-

HOME GUARD



Immediately after the German breakthrough on the western front in May, 1940, the British Government issued a call for volunteers from the civilian population to form a Home Guard to assist in the defense of the British Isles if and when the German forces attempted an invasion from the captured ports along the European coast. By this time, thirty-five Forestry camps were operating in Scotland and Northern England. Large numbers of men from the Unit immediately volunteered fro the Home Guard, and they were posted to the nearest local commands. They continued to serve until they were transferred to the highlands at the close of logging operations in the south. By the middle of 1942 the Unit was concentrated in the larger forests of the Scottish Highlands, in camps of between sixty and one hundred men.

The military authorities felt that owing to the potential danger of an enemy landing on the less well defended areas of Northeast Scotland, and the time required to mobilize local defense forces, there was a need for a mobile force that could be assembled and moved to any threatened area on very short notice. Discussions took place with officers of the Forestry Unit and a decision was reached to ask for volunteers to form a battalion consisting entirely of officers and men of the Unit. The response was tremendous, with large numbers enlisting, and within a fortnight, the 3d Inverness (Newfoundland) Battalion Home Guard, had a compliment of over seven hundred men. This Battalion had the distinction of being the only Home Guard unit composed entirely of men from overseas who were serving in Britain on specialized war work.

The commanding officer was the officer in charge of the Newfoundland Foresters, Captain Jack Turner, who was immediately promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. J.M. Curran Jr. was appointed second-in-command with the rank of Major. Major Peter North of the Royal Scots was training officer, and Captain C.C. Machon, RA.S.C., quartermaster. The appointments were effective on the 30th September, 1942. J.G. Martin was promoted to Major and second-in-command of the Battalion on 23d of September, 1943 when Major J.M. Curran returned to Newfoundland. Captain K. Goudie, H.L.I. joined the Battalion as adjutant on the 1st of June, 1943 and was succeeded by Captain W. Wishart on October 18th, 1943.

The Battalion was formed in to three operational companies and HQ company.All training and exercises were carried out after working hours, on week ends, or on annual or special leave. An assault course and rifle range were constructed at one of the abandoned logging sites at Carrbridge, and it was used extensively by other Home Guard and regular army units. Basic training was conducted at the camps several nights a week and training exercises usually were conducted on week ends. Officers and N.C.O.'s attended training cadres and courses both at Battalion HQ, Carrbridge, or at army training centres in Edinburgh, Bridge of Earn, and Inverness. In addition, several groups took part in commando training courses at various bases in the Highlands.

The role of the Battalion was, in the words of Brigadier J.S. Davenport, Sub Area Commander Northern District, " to provide a mobile striking force on counter-attack lines at various focal points in the area". In a letter to Major J.M. Curran after his return to Newfoundland, the Brigadier continued that "they were to be trained accordingly, to be strictly mobile and ready for any offensive operation as required. One company was to report to my HQ at Ness-side House for use anywhere in the area, and others were to report to the Garrison Commander (Lord Gough) at Inverness. I can say with truth, that they were the only unit in the area that I felt I could always count upon to arrive at a given place in correct numbers and I knew that any task given them would be carried out to the best of their ability. Had any Germans landed in the area it was always a question of time in getting reinforcements to assist the local Highlanders and we very often carried out exercises with this 3d Battalion to to test out this time factor.

The Brigadier also pointed to the loss of money, sleep and rest suffered by the Battalion during their training, which was more rigorous and difficult than in most Highland Battalions.

In 1943 and 1944, the Battalion continued advanced training, with many field exercises preparing them for the defense of the country. Brigadier Davenport and P.H. Dunn, Commissioner of Natural Resources in Newfoundland, sent messages congratulating the Battalion on its success in gaining third place in the Loch Boisdale trophy competition.
The texts of their messages are as follows:

O/C 3d. Inverness (Nfld.)Battalion
Very many congratulations on obtaining third place Loch Boisdale Challenge Trophy against one thousand other Home Guard teams
sgd. Davenport, HQ I.S.D.
Col. Jack Turner, O.B.E., M.C.

Please convey congratulations to men of the Battalion on very good show made in competition for Loch Boisdale Challenge Trophy and congratulations on my behalf Sergeant Owen Dollimont on receiving B.E.M.
sgd. P.D.H. Dunn
Commissioner for Natural Resources

The following honours were awarded to members of the 3d Inverness (Nfld) Battalion:
B.E.M. Sergeant Owen Dollimont "C" Company
Certificates of Merit:
Corporal A. Piercey "C" Company
Private J. Piercey HQ Company
Certificates of good service:
CQMS Ken Crowell "A" Company
Sergeant J. Gilliard "A" Company
Lt./Cpl J. Traverse HQ Company

The British Home Guard was officially stood down on the 31st. of December, 1944, and the Newfoundland Battalion was represented at the National Home Guard stand-down parade in London on December 3d, 1944 by the following men:
Corporal L. Walsh HQ Company
Corporal Les Stoyles "B" Company
L/Corporal H. Wheeler "A" Company

All members of the Forestry Unit who volunteered and served in the British Home Guard were awarded the defense Medal, under conditions described in War Office correspondence dated June 6th, 1946-68/Gen/8070(AGHD):
"In recognition of the service rendered by Officers and ex-Officers of the Home Guard it has been decided, on its disbandment, to grant to them Honorary Rank under conditions defined in Army Order No. 32/1945, notwithstanding any existing entitlement to Rank or Honorary Rank under other regulations by virtue of previous commissioned service. The grant of such Honorary Rank does not carry the right to wear uniform except when specially authorized in connection with Victory Parades"
.................(article continues)

Source here

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Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit - NOFU

Illness or accident claimed the lives of thirty-four members of the Unit. All were interred in local cemeteries in Great Britain, with collections
from their fellow members going toward the purchase of headstones at their grave sites. There was also a group of three hundred and thirty-five
men who were returned to Newfoundland due to accident or illness. This is a list of names of those who died, including their home towns, date
of death and place of burial.

Click here for a picture of the Memorial to these men located at Grand Falls, Newfoundland
(use your "back"button to return to this page)

Click here for more on the Memorial, and comments on these men who did not make it home from "Lumberjack Larry",
the memoirs of Larry Gladney (1901) of Clarenville. Larry's brother Michael (1900) was one of those who died in Scotland, and he is buried at Loch Laggan..

Angus and Helen Paul of Scotland have very kindly sent us a number of recent pictures of gravesites of some of those members
who died in service in Britain. You can view a picture of the gravesite by clicking on the linked member name.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Click here to open the link showing the list of those who are buried in the UK and from whence the above excerpt is taken.

Source of the website from within which the above linked excerpt is taken; Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit 1939-1946

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Harry: Thank you for the excellent research into the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit. One does learn something new everyday.
Cheers,
Brian
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Thanks Harry, excellent posts. One of those things you have heard about, and crops up in the papers now and again for some anniversary. You have fleshed it out, and brought back the memory of a lot of unsung heroes
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Located in the general area of the NOFU camps, this post relate to the Nethy Bridge Camp(s) occupied by:-

CFC Soldiers of the Canadian Forestry Corps (Army), Newfoundland Navy soldiers ('Newfies'). Also Lapp and Finnish soldiers

World War Timber Camps
One of a number of such camps around Nethy Bridge

Other names, Forestry Camps
See also Timber Sawmills (new page)
See also Balnagowan Mill (new page)

Location/map reference
WW2 Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC) Camp, School Woods, Nethy Bridge (photograph courtesy of Alastair McCook)

Canadian Camp :
School Woods, Nethy Bridge (grid ref NJ 013207 approx).


'Newfie' Camps :
One near the start of the track leading to Revack Lodge from the B970 road (grid ref NJ 028254 approx).
One near Dell Farm, Culvardie, Nethy Bridge (grid ref NJ 003202 approx).


Built by
Soldiers of the Canadian Forestry Corps (Army), Newfoundland Navy soldiers ('Newfies'). Also Lapp and Finnish soldiers.

Building uses
Camps housing men and machinery tasked with harvesting and processing Scots Pine timber for the war effort. School woods Canadian Camp also briefly used as a Prisoner of war camp.

Owners/occupiers
Soldiers of the Canadian Forestry Corps (Army), Newfoundland Navy soldiers ('Newfies'), Lapp and Finnish soldiers. There is a grave of at least one member of the CFC, in the Old Kirk graveyard.

Many of the early camps were built by soldiers of the Canadian Army Forestry Corps. Apparently their camps were highly mechanised and advanced - making use of caterpillar tracked vehicles, previously unseen by locals.

However, with the coming of D Day, many of the Canadian Army soldiers were sent to fight, leaving Newfoundland 'Newfie' soldiers (who were enlisted with the Navy) to do much of the forestry work. A recording of P Bruce, a Newfie forester based here, exists in the Explore Abernethy centre.

The Canadian soldiers are remembered by many as being very friendly, some being billeted with locals in the village before their camps became operational. The soldiers were often hugely admired by the locals and, as many local men were away at war, they made up the majority of men in the community.

Some Canadian soldiers were of German extraction, their families having emigrated to Canada after World war 1 and having surnames such as 'Risebrouw'. One Mr. Heidelbaur is remembered as an excellent sprinter in the Nethy Bridge camp.

The soldiers played softball matches against soldiers from other camps (softball featuring an underarm throw, whereas baseball has an overarm throw). Horseshoe games were also played outside - involving the throwing of horseshoes to connect with a stick planted in the ground.

Soldiers collected their pay from the office and also collected handfuls of (rough) toilet paper on their way to the toilet. J Archibald remembers one soldier accidentally using his money notes instead of toilet paper and having to retrieve it !

Films were shown twice weekly at the camp - remembered titles include ' The Three Stooges', 'Abbot and Costello' and 'Keys to the Kingdom'. This final film was Gregory Peck's first starring role and was seen here before its premiere in London's West End. Films were also shown in the village at the Nethy Bridge Institute (now the Nethy Bridge Community Centre), the projectionist being Coe Stewart, who is said to have been concerned over losing business to the Canadian's 'cimema'.

Building history
Nethy Bridge Canadian camp Consisted of two rows of buildings alongside the road leading from the Causer crossroads to Craigmore. The buildings comprised offices, dormitories, officer's mess, water tower, canteen and vehicle and maintenance workshops. A concrete structure existing today in School Woods may be the remains of the water tower or the shower block.

Hall, Stage, Reading Room, Billiard Room Dances were held occassionally and performances were given by women from the Land Army. Bottles of Pepsi were sold for 3 pence, which could be reclaimed if the bottle was returned. Bottles left by the troops under their seats during a performance were often collected by local children, who then claimed the money back themselves.

Building construction
1939 - early 1940's. Many other forestry camps were built during the War in forested districts throughout the Scottish Highlands. The camps were made of simple timber buildings located in forest districts.

Early buildings were erected promptly in the forest, near to harvesting areas, using the rural construction methods used in the home country (eg: Canada or Newfoundland). Often this took the form of a log cabin, with moss draught proofing. Several men would sleep on bunkbeds in the same room, heated by a fire and lit by oil lamps.

The Newfies' called their beds 'biscuits' - these being mattresses formed from compressed straw and covered with blankets. However, the Scottish winters, although not as cold, were much wetter than the 'Newfies' were used to. This, combined with long hours of hard work outdoors, communal living and limited food and heating led to an increasing number of deaths from pneumonia.

Thus, these simple cabins were soon replaced by more permanent and comfortable structures with showers, running water and electricity.

References (please see link below - my comment)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Link to source Nethy Bridge history which when opened includes photographs, Ordinance Survey map reproduction (small), References and other links, some accompanying the text whilst others are in the menu on the left of the page.

Note; this is (I think) the first reference to the Newfoundland Navy soldiers (Newfies').


Little h
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Old 13-02-2013, 14:31
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

The excerpts in this post relate to the finding of some 300 letters (by his granddaughter in 2008), the property of one Patrick 'Pat' Hennessy who served in the 15th Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps - CFC, and was stationed at Beauly, which is located at the western end of the Beauly Firth west of Inverness.

--------------------------------------------------------------

During the Second World War thousands of young men left the logging camps of rural Canada to serve in the Canadian Forestry Corps in Scotland. Hundreds of them were from New Brunswick.

The CFC is unique among the many specialized units that served in the Two World Wars. Made up primarily of Aboriginal, English, and French speaking loggers from rural Canada, they were experienced woodsmen who cut timber for the war effort in Scotland.

An old man by comparison, Pat was fifty-six years old and the father of six adult children - three who were in the Armed services themselves - when he signed up for the Army in 1940.

But in Pat's case, age didn't matter: he had more experience as a cook than anyone else and that's what the Army needed. He had worked every winter in the logging camps of northern New Brunswick since he was a youngster at the turn of the century and every spring he'd run the drives cooking meals in a makeshift boat that trailed behind the woodsmen along the river's edge. The CFC needed someone like Pat Hennessy and in spite of his age, he was welcomed into the Army. So began a five year odyssey in Scotland that changed his life forever.
.................................................. ..(articles continue)

Some of these people also took up the pen and wrote to Patrick's wife Beatrice, filling her in on all the details of life in Scotland and striking up a friendship with her in their own right. Letters came from Beauly, Aboyne, Ayr, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Source Letters from Beauly - The Canadian Forestry Corps in Scotland where there is much to read.


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Old 13-02-2013, 21:08
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Wentzell View Post
Harry: Thank you for the excellent research into the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit. One does learn something new everyday.
Cheers,
Brian
Thanks Brian,

On receiving thanks for researching a subject on another thread I simply responded broadly thus; ... In truth I consider that really all the research has been done by those who have formulated the reports and articles from which I draw my excerpts to post. I simply collate same and present their information to the members of this forum. I do however try to give the originators credit for their work by including a source link at the end of a piece.

Your comments are appreciated though

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Old 13-02-2013, 21:12
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegaskip View Post
Thanks Harry, excellent posts. One of those things you have heard about, and crops up in the papers now and again for some anniversary. You have fleshed it out, and brought back the memory of a lot of unsung heroes
Jim
Thanks Jim,

I was broadly aware that the Canadians had been logging in my locality whilst going to school, but was not aware that there were both Army and civilian loggers involved and certainly never knew of the Newfoundland Navy soldiers (Newfies').

Little h
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Old 13-02-2013, 22:11
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry.gibbon View Post
Thanks Jim,

I was broadly aware that the Canadians had been logging in my locality whilst going to school, but was not aware that there were both Army and civilian loggers involved and certainly never knew of the Newfoundland Navy soldiers (Newfies').

Little h
Harry:

Just responded to your PM on this topic!
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Old 14-02-2013, 22:27
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry.gibbon View Post
Located in the general area of the NOFU camps, this post relate to the Nethy Bridge Camp(s) occupied by:-

Newfoundland Navy soldiers ('Newfies'). 'Newfie' Camps :
One near the start of the track leading to Revack Lodge from the B970 road (grid ref NJ 028254 approx).
One near Dell Farm, Culvardie, Nethy Bridge (grid ref NJ 003202 approx).


Owners/occupiers
Soldiers of the Canadian Forestry Corps (Army), Newfoundland Navy soldiers ('Newfies'), Lapp and Finnish soldiers. There is a grave of at least one member of the CFC, in the Old Kirk graveyard.

Many of the early camps were built by soldiers of the Canadian Army Forestry Corps. Apparently their camps were highly mechanised and advanced - making use of caterpillar tracked vehicles, previously unseen by locals.

However, with the coming of D Day, many of the Canadian Army soldiers were sent to fight, leaving Newfoundland 'Newfie' soldiers (who were enlisted with the Navy) to do much of the forestry work. A recording of P Bruce, a Newfie forester based here, exists in the Explore Abernethy centre.


Note; this is (I think) the first reference to the Newfoundland Navy soldiers (Newfies').


Little h
During the last 24 hours or so, myself and other interested members have (via the PM system) attempted to validate the existence of the 'Newfoundland Navy soldiers' unit, which is referred to in the excerpts in post #22 above. Regrettably these attempts have so far been without success.

A further complication is that the 'Nethy Bridge' article advises that a recording exists made by a person from the 'unit' and can be found/heard in the Explore Abernethy Centre.

But, there not having beent a Newfoundland Navy, one wonders how there were 'Navy soldiers'???

Little h
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Old 15-02-2013, 14:54
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Tim and Harry: The "Newfoundland Division of the Royal Naval Reserve" existed from 1900 until 1922. Its purpose was "training for mobilization in emergency", Citizen Sailors Chronicles of Canada's Naval Reserve 1910-2010, p. 20 (R.H. Gimblett and M.L. Hadley,Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2010). The three masted barque, HMS Calypso, was assigned as the drill ship in 1902 at St. John's. In place of her masts and funnel accommodations were constructed and she remained there for 20 years. During World War 1, she was renamed HMS Briton and was paid and sold in 1922 to A H Murray and Company for use as a coal and salt hulk.

Members of the Newfoundland RNR served as far east as Gallipoli and as near as St. John's in the First World War in various occupations as wireless operators, adminstrative members, trainers, and ship's crew members in the RN and RCN. Of the 1,996 men who served, 192 died in service.

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Old 03-07-2013, 01:19
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

Just a heads-up with regard to a new thread entitled 'Royal Australian Engineers - Forestry Units in Scotland and England; WWII', which I consider to be a companion thread to this one.

The inspiration for the new thread arises from an article in a/the Canadian War Museum site, so there is a distinct link between the two threads.

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Old 22-09-2013, 18:42
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Default Re: Canadian Forestry Corps WWII - 'The Sawdust Fusiliers'

It is only now that I have opened this section/part of the work produced in ancestry.com and there is much left that I have not yet read.

The followings excerpt indicates that there was longevity built into them there buildings that were erected by the CFC.


From: Andrew Hall
Sent: January-26-13 4:23 AM
To: rj.gonefishing@shaw.ca
Subject: Canadian forestry corps camp27.
Hi Bob.
I saw your article on ancestry.com, regarding the CFC in Scotland during WWII.
I actually live in the only remaining building from Camp 27, Glentanar, Dinnet. I belive this was home to No. 4 Company CFC from April 1941 until they were relocated to Forres in Nov 44.
I'd love to know if you have any further info with respect to this particular camp. The building I live in was, I'm told, used as the common room. It's still in reasonable condition but has been over-clad with cedar shingles at some point and obviously the inside has been upgraded over the years.
If you know of anyone who has an interest in this camp, feel free to pass on my e-mail.
I'm not that well informed about it, but would love to hear any stories or info from the war years.
I've lived here about 10 years now and spend much of my time in the surrounding hills which would have been so familiar to those lads back then.
Hope to hear from you and best wishes from Scotland.
Regards,
Andy Hall


--------------------------------------------------------------

My Comment; Being brought up in the area to which this section refers, I am aquainted with many of the locations mentioned in this piece, much of which relates to the activities of No. 4 Company, Canadian Forestry Corps, District No. 2, Camp 27, Glentanar, Dinnet;

There are also several other forum members who will be aquainted with the area and I have included a link to the entire section in the first paragraph of this post. This will supplement the link in my thread opening post.


Little h



PS; an important observation/inclusion: Please note the 'penultimate link' (to the WNSF), in this link ; which contains a fine index table c/w links to the varius CFC Company's and some of the background to the inspiration behind the complete work.
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Last edited by harry.gibbon : 23-09-2013 at 00:06. Reason: to highlight the WNSF in the reference to the penultimate link
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