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Two Armies

Heroes Remember

First of all, I don’t know whether anybody’s ever, has discussed this or not, but there were two things, there were sort of two armies. There was the active service, the active army. These people, the people who joined that were, you know could go at a moments notice to the front, where ever that would be. There was also what was called a what was it called? National Reserve Mobilization Army. And these were people who, by choice, had elected not to go overseas. Now initially I had some really very negative attitudes about... not so much the military but just about Canada in particular because I had been kicked around and not only, and I’m not singling myself out but, but, because as a group, as a community in Windsor, and in Essex Colony, and in Camp Colony and in Lambton Colony, and further out, York colony, Toronto, we’d been kicked around. We couldn’t go places. We couldn’t go into restaurants. We couldn’t go into theatres. We couldn’t go into skating rinks, roller skating rinks. We couldn’t go on the ice skating rinks. There were just so many things that we couldn’t do. We got kicked around, we got called all kinds of names and so on like that. And so you come out of there with some pretty, pretty negative attitudes. With all of this in mind, bingo, here’s the war. Now do I join and do I, you know, do I go running overseas, or what do I do? Well, I didn’t. Some, a lot of guys did, you’ve been talking to guys who did. I didn’t. And I don’t, I don’t have any, I really don’t have any regrets about that. Now, for me it was something that I had to think through and so I did, and about three or four months into my army experience, I made the switch so that I was available for postings wherever the system wanted to send me. But as I say, they had it in mind for me to go to Vancouver and that was fine as far as I was concerned. I’m not a glory boy. Okay. I just happened to be a guy who was conscripted into the army, spent his time and contributed to the army as best he could. When they wanted a piano player, I played for their church parades. I played for their dances. When they wanted somebody to type, I typed. When they wanted somebody in the operating room, I was in the operating room. When they wanted somebody on the wards to carry bed pans, I did that. So that’s my contribution.

Mr. Jacobs expresses his attitude towards war and his personal contribution.

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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