203rd Finance Det. History


The 203rd Finance Section Acc't Disb. O. (Avn) FD was activated 17 January 1944 at Grafton Underwood, the organization at that time consisting of two officers, 2nd Lieutenant John R. McKee, commanding, and 1st Lieutenant Joseph V. Scanlon, and thirteen enlisted men. Six days later, one officer (Lt. Scanlon) and six enlisted men were placed on duty at Kimbolton, AAF Station 117, as Detachment "A" of the 203rd Finance Section.

Role, Function and Unit Composition

The 203rd Finance Section was activated January 1944. Finance members were often drawn from equivalent civilian occupations and were somewhat older than the average GI.
The finance section was assigned to bomb group headquarters but worked very closely with the S-1 (Personnel) section staff officer. Initially the section contained fifteen members, but it split to provide a finance section for another base. The final strength at Grafton Underwood was eight, one Officer and seven Enlisted Men.

Daily Duties

The Finance Section was responsible for paying the parent and tenant organizations on base as well as Services of Supply units which might temporarily be stationed in the nearby area. The Finance Section paid the servicemen with money drawn from nearby British banks. Disbursements were made monthly in various common areas. Officers and EM lined up under guard while Finance members issued payment to each service member. The Finance Section operated a money order system, which soldiers used to send almost half of each serviceman's pay home. Finance oversaw deposits to soldiers' savings funds and dealt with cash purchases of war bonds during the various war bond drives. In addition, the finance section familiarized new arrivals with the British currency and finance system as well as monies from other Allied nations. The section was also responsible for keeping the pay records straight for each soldier. Finance made payouts for personnel traveling on official business from or to Grafton Underwood. The finance section would also assist the various clubs and exchanges on base with financial management.
An insight into the volume of work handled is given in the disbursement figures for February 1944, the unit's first month: number of troops paid, 4400; number of officer's vouchers paid, 622; total amount disbursed $251,568.92. In the War Bond drive in August 1944, the Finance Section's tabulation showed that Grafton Underwood had sold the greatest dollar amount of any Air Force station in the 1st Bomb Division, and ultimately the additional task of making payments to Italian Co-Operators in the area.

Information provided by the 384th Bomb Group Historian, John Edwards; additional information adapted from As Briefed (page 209).