The Tank was the Canadian Armoured Corps' magazine, operating out of the Armoured Fighting Vehicles School in Borden, Ontario. A self-styled "transient", wrote in to express the not-so-patriotic motivations behind his enlistment.
"DEAR MR. EDITOR:
One dollar and thirty cents a day, in which you get three meals, a roof over your head, and clothing on your back. That's why I'm in the army. The C.A.C. just happened.
It's a lot better than being a transient. I joined up at the first place that would take me.
I was on the trek for three years. You ride the rods, hitch-hike or tramp. You work when you can get it. You eat when you can get it, sleep where you are, panhandle when you've got to, and duck the bulls.
I was a good transient and good transients are not lazy. I do my work, keep clean, and I'll show them how a transient can fight if I get the chance. But, if they'd had those work camps, I'd had to work harder than I do in the army.
We'll win the war. Do you think we'll win some common sense?
* * * * * TRANSIENT"
|The Tank - Canada, June 1942|
Another letter from the Ontario Regiment overseas noted that the skills of the homeless were particularly useful on the many schemes and exercises. In August 1942 The Tank reported:
"Living as we did in the open, old time campers and men who had seen "civilized-jungle" life were great teachers. On one occasion a civilian car killed a duck in the road, one minute later it was in a tank, a few minutes later on reaching a harbour it was over a fire, and shortly after that, inside the tank crew. It is not that starvation rations had been issued, but who wouldn't prefer roast duck to bully-beef?"
It seems that the techniques of scrounging were as applicable to Second World War army life as they had been to unemployment in the 1930s.