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Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit

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Duncan Cain, 2009
Ballieward
Duncan Cain

The Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit (NOFU) was active between 1939 and 1945. The unit was created on November 17, 1939, when a radio announcement was made by the Canadian Commissioner for Natural Resources, appealing for volunteer loggers to work in Great Britain.

Overseas supplies of raw timber became severely restricted during World War II, as the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) attempted to isolate the British Isles by disrupting the convoys bringing essential supplies by sea, forcing the country to try and satisfy demands for material such as timber from local resources. However, this problem was not restricted only to material resources at that time, as labour was also in short supply, since most of the men had been conscripted into the Armed Forces. This shortfall in labour was addressed in part by calling on overseas assistance from Canada, and locally, by the creation of the lumberjills, female volunteers recruited to work in forestry.

Records indicate that NOFU recruited approximately 3,680 men.

The men were paid $2.00 per day, or $12.00 week, from which a compulsory deduction of $1.00 per day was made and forwarded to their families in Newfoundland. Although the men who answered the call were provided with transport, accommodation, and medical services as part of the deal, personal needs, such as clothing, were their own responsibility, for which they had to make their own arrangements.

Although there appear to be no remains, the picture at the top of the page is said to show the area where Camp 27, Baillieward, would have been located.

Camp 49, Glenmuick, has also been identified in Ballater, at Dalmochie in Pannanich Wood. The Ballater Historic Forestry Project was announced in 2005, with the aim of reconstructing the camp on its original site, where the concrete bases of the huts and stoves lie in the forest.[1]

Transport to Great Britain had to be arranged at short notice, and was provided by independent shipping companies, and the men were carried on a number of vessels.

Sixteen NOFU members are reported to have lost their lives in the sinking of HMS Hood.[2] In May 1941, Hood had been despatched along with HMS Prince of Wales and ordered to intercept the German battleship Bismarck, which was en route to attack convoys in the Atlantic. On May 24, in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Hood was destroyed in an explosion that broke her back, splitting the battlecruiser into two pieces, and sinking her in less than three minutes. Of 1,418 crew, only three survived.

Camps

Index Name Date Notes
1 Golspie 1942 to 1946 Sutherland (A9 North)
2 Dounie Hill 1941 to 1945 Sawmill. Edderton, Ross-shire, between Tain & Dornoch on A836
3 Lamington Park 1944 to 1945 By Invergordon, Ross-shire
4 Novar 1 1940 to 1943 By Alness on the A9 north of Dingwall
5 Novar 2 1942 to 1945 A832 Black Isle, Ross-shire
6 Rosemarkie 1 1940 to 1942 A832 Black Isle, Ross-shire
7 Rosemarkie 2 1941 to 1943
8 Fairburn 1940 to 1945 Sawmill. Aultgowrie, by Marybank, Ross-shire
9 Leckmelm 1943 to 1946 A835 east of Ullapool Wester Ross
10 Kinlochewe 1943 to 1946 A832 to west coast from Dingwall, Ross-shire
11 Achanalt 1 1941 to 1944 A832 to west coast from Dingwall, Ross-shire
12 Achanalt 2 1941 to 1944
13 Achnasheen 1942 to 1944 A832 to west coast from Dingwall, Ross-shire
14 Achnashellach 1943 to 1946 A890 to Strathcarron & Kyle of Lachalsh
15 Whitebridge 1943 to 1946 Sawmill. B862 southwest of Inverness
16 Daviot 1940 to 1941 A9 south of Inverness
17 Dalcross 1940 to 1941 B9039 east of Inverness (Inverness Airport)
18 Moy 1 1940 to 1942 A9 south of Inverness
19 Moy 2 1941 to 1945
20 Carrbridge 1 1940 to 1941 B9153 off A9 south of Inverness
21 Carrbridge 2 1940 to 1942
22 Duthil 1942 to 1946 A938 east of Carrbridge, Inverness-shire
23 Deshar 1942 to 1946 B970 north of Aviemore, by Boat of Garten
24 Aucherach 1940 to 1942 Inverness-shire (by Grantown)
25 Grantown 1940 to 1943 Sawmill. A938 Inverness-shire
26 Ravack 1942 to 1945
27 Ballieward 1940 to 1942
28 Ballinlag 1942 to 1945
29 Forest Lodge 1942 to 1945
30 Cromdale 1943 to 1946 A95 east of Grantown
31 Advie 1940 to 1942 A95 east of Carrbridge, Inverness-shire
32 Ballindalloch 1940 to 1941
33 Kinveachy 9 1943 to 1946 by Carrbridge Boat of Garten
34 Kinveachy 10 1943 to 1946
35 Kinveachy 11 1943 to 1946
36 Insh 1940 to 1941 A9 south of Aviemore
37 Feshie Bridge 1941 to 1945 Sawmill. B970 (off A9) south of Aviemore
38 Advie 1940 to 1945 A95 east of Grantown
39 Laggan 1 1940 to 1943 A86 west of Kingussie, Inverness-shire
40 Laggan 2 1940 to 1943
41 Laggan 1940 to 1945 Sawmill.
42 Laggan 4 1941 to 1945
43 Laggan 5 1941 to 1945
44 Laggan 6 1941 to 1946
45 Ardnashaig 1940 to 1942
46 Glenlonan 1940 to 1942
47 Portalloch 1940 to 1942
48 Knapdale 1940 to 1942 B841 west of Lochgilphead Argyllshire
49 Glenmuick 1940 to 1943
50 Invercauldy 1940 to 1942
51 Kildrummy 1940 to 1941 A97 off A944 west of Aberdeen
52 John's Cairn 1940 to 1941
53 Taymount 1940 to 1941
54 Cortachy 1942 to 1945
55 Balvaird 1940 to 1942
56 Strathconon 1940 to 1941 A832 west of Muir-of-Ord, Ross-shire
57 Rosebery 1940 to 1942
58 Castle O'er 1940 to 1942
59 Eweswater 1939 to 1941
60 Bowhill 1940 to 1941 B7039 west of Galashiels
61 Abbe St. Bathans 1939 to 1941
62 Plashetts 1939 to 1941
63 Lyndhurst 1939 to 1941
64 Scardale 1939 to 1941
65 Reedsdale 1940 to 1942
66 Thurston 1940 to 1942
67 Larrison 1940 to 1942
68 Harelawpike 1940 to 1942
69 Milton 1940 to 1942 Dumfriess & Galloway off A747
70 Fritham 1940 Southhampton, England
71 Breckenhurst 1940 Southhampton, England

Although we had been trawling for information that identified the camps, and collating this, we were not having the greatest of success until we came across what appeared to be complete listing, which we used to compile the table above, and credit for the additional material - the dates and locations - is due to the source, a web site dedicated to those who served with NOFU.[3][4]

The site contains a wealth of information about NOFU, together with stories and photographs of the unit's history.

However, it is hosted on a sub-domain below a business site, rather than its own, and does not seem to have been updated since 2007.

Districts

Name Disrict Notes
Headquarters Edinburgh 1939 to 1946
District 'E' Ballater 1940 to 1942
District 'A' Muir-of Ord, Ross-shire 1940 to 1946
District 'F' Oban 1940 to 1942
District 'B' Carrbridge, Inverness-shire 1940 to 1946
District 'G' Galashiels 1940 to 1943
District 'C' Kingussie, Inverness-shire 1940 to 1946
District 'H' Kershopefoot 1939 to 1942
District 'D' Perth, Perth-shire 1940 to 1942
Carrbridge Headquarters Carrbridge, Inverness-shire 1941 to 1946

Base camps

  • Clyde
    • Glenbranter
    • Glenfinart
  • Borders
    • Kershopefoot
    • Kielder
  • Oban
    • Lochgilphead

References

  • They Also Served, Tom Curran, Jesperson Press of St John's, 1987.

1 Ballater Historic Forestry Project Retrieved April 19, 2013.

2 hmshood Retrieved May 04, 2011.

3 Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit in Scotland 1939-1945 WWII. NOFU members and information. Retrieved May 04, 2011.

4 Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit in Scotland 1939-1945 WWII. NOFU members and information. Retrieved April 18, 2013.

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