Pay Day

Sea Stories

Pay Roll Summary, July, August, September 1943

Pay Roll Summary, July, August, September 1943

“For about nine months I sent $200 a month home. We didn’t have any place to spend it. It just accumulated on your payroll. When I came home I had over $1000 in pay on the books.”

-Harold Smith, Fire Controlman 1/c


Note the Monroe hand-operated, mechanical adding machine on the table.

Note the Monroe hand-operated, mechanical adding machine on the table.

The crew was paid on the 15th and 20th of each month. When “pay call” was sounded the Masters-at-Arms and Police Petty Officers formed personnel in pay number order (or alphabetical order after October 1944) in designated pay lines in the Mess Halls. Certain enlisted were allowed to proceed to the head of the lines: Master-at-Arms, Cooks, Bakers, Mess Cooks, Police Petty Officers, Canteen Storekeepers, Clothing and Small Stores Storekeepers, Ship’s Service Storekeepers, Laundry Personnel, Steward’s Mates, Post Officer Personnel.

The officers, Chief Petty Officers and Marines were paid on the 15th and last day of the month. “It was a distinct pleasure to pay the Chiefs at breakfast in their mess. This meant I got one good breakfast a month!”

-Ensign Henry Little, Disbursing officer


Upon arriving onboard BB55 “I was presented with a safe containing nearly 1 million dollars in 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s and 20s. This is an imposing pile of money for anybody….I proceeded to my best…. There were several bored Marines with Tommy guns standing guard. At 0400 October 1, 1944, I became the coffee drinking disbursing officer of a major ship.”

-Ensign Henry Little


“The paymaster used to post the names of every enlisted crew member with the amount of money he had on the books and you could decide how much you wanted to draw out on payday. There was a distinct advantage to this in that if someone owed you money he could not claim he was broke on payday because there was his name. The paymaster was there with stacks of money [and armed guards]. You filled out a chit with your name, rate and serial number, presented it to the paymaster with an imprint of your inked thumb on it and got your money.”

-Bill Faulkner, Seaman 1/c


“Today we have been at sea for 62 days. It is also the fourth straight payday I have not drawn any money.”

-LT Edward Gillespie, September 15, 1942


Supply Office

Supply Office

“The figurative Federal income tax man comes around to members of the armed forces just as he does to all other Americans. But when he pays his 1943 visit fighting men and and women will find that several distinct income tax advantages have been conferred upon them. For an unmarried civilian with no dependents income taxation starts when gross earnings reach $525.01 at which level the collector’s bill is a modest $1. [The same in the military or naval forces] doesn’t owe until his total earnings reach $775 provided as much as $250 of these earnings come from wartime pay for active service. [There is a] $300 exclusion for married persons.”

“Brand new is the Victory tax. It is levied on all incomes in excess of $12 per week or $624 a year, at a flat rate of 5%. The tax law provides for a post-war refund….”

Tax Facts for Navy Men, All Hands, January 194 “Congress was especially considerate of those in the armed forces by permitting them to exclude from their gross income up to $1500 of active service pay, on top of their regular personal exemption. The vast majority of Navy personnel will not have to pay income tax this year….”