Regimental Sergeant Major H 'Tommy' Atkins of 2nd Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recalls erratic pay arrangements in North Africa and the Far East in World War II.
Henry Barker
Regimental Sergeant Major H 'Tommy' Atkins

Tell me then, let's go back and just think back to your pay, how did your pay change over the period of time, and what sacrifices in each of the various stages, even when you were at war, what sort of money were you earning for all this?
According to what the circumstances were you might get your weekly pay on time, or you might go 2 or 3 weeks without it because of the administrative arrangements of an officer going back to the field pay office, I think there was a field pay office somewhere way back, and he would collect enough money to come up and give you some money. Lots of people didn't draw any money at all, they just made do with what they had because there was nothing to spend it on anyway. Let me get my thoughts right on this, in the early Western Desert days the only thing that you could spend your money on when you were in the desert was if you had an enthusiastic Sergeant Major or Colour Sergeant or one of the officers was able to travel down back to some depot like Fuka where there was a big NAAFI Depot and they would buy up a few cases of tinned fruit and one or two little things like that which we didn't see from day to day at all otherwise. They would bring them back and you could spend a penny or tuppence or sixpence or something on a tin of fruit and go away and waffle it. Otherwise, to my memory, there was nothing to spend money on so what did you want pay for, so you saved up and it went to your credits then when you eventually went back to base like we did from Bardia down to [Alterhag] in the Nile Delta, then you drew enough money to go on leave with and then you could have a spend up in Cairo or whatever. In the Far East, we spent about a year in Ceylon, so there we was on a better regular sort of day to day and weekly basis where pay was regular each week. There was a NAAFI in the area for us, a regimental NAAFI sort of thing, where there was beer and cigarettes and one or two small niceties, not very much.