Captain Henry Barker of 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recalls his princely wages in the 1930s.
Henry Barker
Captain Henry Barker

Tell me about salary and money and what it meant to you.
Well when I joined up you got two shillings a day, then after three years if you've got a second class certificate of education you were a marksman on one weapon and a first class shot on another weapon you got an extra shilling a day which was three shillings a day. If you became a Lance Corporal unpaid, you got nothing. After about two years you became what they call a paid Lance Corporal and you got an extra 9 pence a day, then when you became a full Corporal you got another nine pence a day. Lance Sergeant, the same thing, nine pence a day, and when you became a full Sergeant you got a grand sum of six shillings a day, which in those days you were a Rajah, believe me, you were a Rajah, six bob a day, and when I became an RSM and got one pound and six pence a day, I think it was, I was a double Rajah, but the pay was very good really in those days. I quote a case in China, a dollar was tenpence ha'penny, you could get steak, eggs, chips, peas, onions and tomatoes, ten cigarettes and change out of a dollar, which was only ten pence ha'penny. That was value for money wasn't it, but nowadays I think the pay they get is well, out of this world, compared to what we got in my day, but I would do it all again if I had the opportunity.