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Inconsistencies in the RCAF

Heroes Remember

Inconsistencies in the RCAF

There were inconsistencies. When the war broke out, black people, as they did in the First World War, black men went to the recruiting units and they were told that it was a white man's war, and that they were not accepting them. They tried to join the RCAF, the RCAF had a policy that was printed right in its recruiting advertisements in the newspaper. You had to be of European extraction. With a tremendous amount of political pressure applied to the government of the day by people on the east coast, black people on the east coast and also black people in the community of Buxton, you know that community. Letters were written to the Prime Minister, and as a result of this communication the RCAF did loosen up its recruiting policy. As a result of that there were, in my home town about seven guys who were accepted into the Air Force.

Mr. Jacobs provides his opinion on the policy of RCAF guidelines when recruiting soldiers for service.

Kenneth Jacobs

Mr. Kenneth Jacobs was born in 1923 in Windsor, Ontario. He attended public high school until Grade 13 and was involved in sports throughout his school years. He attended the University of Toronto with the aspiration to study medicine, however, after one year changed his career path. In 1943 Mr. Jacobs joined the army. He was posted to Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia with the Royal Canadian Artillery, transferred to the Medical Corp and accepted advanced training in Camp Borden. He then transferred to the Vancouver General Military Hospital working in admissions as a typist, then onto the orderly room as an operating room assistant. In 1945 he discharged from the army, obtained his Bachelor of Arts at Assumption College, attended University of Toronto and earned a Masters Degree in Social Work. Mr. Jacobs worked at the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, being the first black social worker at this agency. Mr. Jacobs joined the Air Force and worked in British Columbia in his social work field. In 1980, when his father turned ill, Mr. Jacobs returned to Ottawa to look after him, was employed with National Defence and established a social work centre. In 1988 Mr. Jacobs retired after 24 years of service and settled in Ottawa. Mr. Jacobs retired from the forces with the rank of Wing Commander.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
April 14, 2011
Person Interviewed:
Kenneth Jacobs
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War

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