Newfoundlander Overseas Forestry Unit (NOFU)

Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit (NOFU) recruited skilled lumberjacks to come to Scotland to cut down trees for the war effort. Over 3,500 hundred men volunteered.

Newfoundlander

Clement Atlee, Winston Churchill's Deputy Prime Minister, visiting a Newfoundland Foresters Camp in 1940. © Donated by the Ballater Historical Forestry Project; best effort has been made to contact the copyright holders.

The island of Newfoundland is located off the east coast of Canada. In 1949 it became part of Canada, but at the start of World War 2 it was a separate country.

Unlike the Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC), which was sent to Britain at the same time, the NOFU was not a military unit. The men were hired on six month long contracts and were paid the same amount as they were paid at home; two dollars per day or twelve dollars a week.

Although not in the military, many of the men who volunteered to come over wanted to join the fighting. The work they were doing, however, was as essential to the success of the war as the fighting itself.

"They are needed here (Britain) on work of national importance, and cannot be replaced. Moreover, it is not easy to train a man, however strong and fit he may be, to become a good lumberjack," Mr Edgar Baird, NOFU Manager,  Illustrated London News (1941).

Many of the men joined the Home Guard, while working at the camps and served locally. In 1942 the 3rd Inverness (Newfoundland) Battalion Home Guard was created consisting of over seven hundred men; the only Home Guard unit composed entirely of men from overseas who were serving in Britain on specialised war work.