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Creston Valley Goes to War

Managing at Home


The Voluntary Auxiliary Drivers Corps: one of many ways in which the war directly impacted those who remained at home

World War II was, in every respect, a "total war:" Total in the sense that it was fought in almost every corner of the world. Total in that it was fought on land, in the air, at sea; through intelligence and technological strategies; by controlling supplies and supply routes. And total in the sense that it involved every man, woman, and child in the country.

Not contributing was simply not an option. The pressure to enlist was enormous, and those who refused to go overseas were denounced as cowards and "Zombies." Military recruiters actively sought boys as young as seventeen, and programs such as the Cadets, Air Raid Patrol, and Pacific Coast Militia Rangers strongly emphasised military preparedness for people even younger. One family of conscientious objectors found themselves obliged to send their children to school in Sirdar, to avoid the military pressures of Creston.

An income tax of 45% on all single men not in uniform forced Roy Rhodes of Wynndel into the army, exactly as it was intended to do. Until then, Roy had been the only man able to work in his household: his father had been badly crippled in a series of work accidents, and his younger brother Lester was crippled from age two by spinal meningitis. Roy sent his military pay home to help his mother eke out the small pensions the other two men received. Roy later wrote, “When the compensation found out that I was sending money home, they immediately cut off Dad’s lousy $20 [a month] pension and Lester’s cripple allowance.”

Hardship at home was no excuse; on the contrary, no hardship, no sacrifice on the home front, could possibly equal the contribution of those in uniform.