Remembering the Telegraphist Air Gunners
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Wartime Heritage ASSOCIATION
Jacks’ Family Visit to Canada, June 2023 Relatives of Leading Air Mechanic William Jacks who served in Canada from 1943-1945 at East Camp, RCAF Station Yarmouth during WWII. Members of Wartime Heritage Association have been honoured to host the Jacks family from England this past week. Ray Jacks and his sister Eileen Jacks had visited Canada for the first time back in 2016. This year, they returned for a second visit with Ray’s wife Christine, and his maternal cousin Sheila Donnellan Jones. Ray and Eileen’s father William Jacks served as an Air Mechanic of the British Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, and was stationed at East Camp, of RCAF Station Yarmouth during the Second World War. In Halifax, WHA member Glen Gaudet and the family visited the Shearwater Aviation Museum where Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber HS469 is on permanent display. HS469 was taken on at Yarmouth during WWII, where William would likely have serviced/worked on the aircraft. The museum also has an Avro Anson, a Grumman Avenger, and other aircraft related to the Fleet Air Arm of the Canadian and Royal Navy. The next day, the family explored Nova Scotia and visited its coastline, stopping into Hackett’s Cove and Paddy’s Head, exploring, and lunching at Peggy’s Cove, and visiting the Sir Sandford Fleming Park (and Dingle Tower) on the Northwest Arm of Halifax, before dinner at The Narrows Public House in Halifax. The Narrows is situated on Gottingen St., directly across from the old gate to CFB Stadacona, facing Admiralty House (former official residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the North American Station of the Royal Navy), now the Naval Museum of Halifax. On their way to Yarmouth, the family also had the opportunity to visit the WWII Lancaster bomber at the Greenwood Military Aviation Museum at CFB Greenwood, and to peek at the Anson aircraft housed inside. In Yarmouth, the family stopped in at the Yarmouth Lighthouse, paid their respects to Fleet Air Arm casualties interred in Mountain Cemetery, and visited the Milo Boat Club, where countless Royal Navy trainees and support crews would have taken a swim, or lounged lakeside on breaks from their military duties and wartime responsibilities. The next day the family visited Yarmouth airport with Glen, where there is a diorama/map of the former base, and a small memorial exhibit on East and West Camp. Afterwards, they stopped to see the Memorial stone and bench, and walked the paths of what were the main roads of East Camp, now camouflaged in moss, grass, and weeds. Ray and Eileen took a moment to capture a picture on the foundation of the mess hall, in the exact spot where their father had stood holding an ale in a photo on Christmas Eve during the war. While still at the airport, there was surprise for the English visitors. As the group was exploring the small exhibit of the war years, Sheila noticed an artist in the adjoining room that was painting a mural, still in the early stages. What stood out, almost immediately, is that the mural featured two air mechanics standing in front of an Anson at East Camp with Fairey Swordfish starting to take shape overhead. The artist, Danielle Mahood, took a break from her work and kindly showed the family what the final mural will look like. It presents the history of the airport, with a tribute to West Camp to be finished next, and aircraft of the post-war era. During their stay, the Jacks family presented Gary Gaudet, Glen Gaudet and George Egan with wooden desk clocks etched with Fairey Swordfish on the front, and engraved inscriptions on the reverse. In return, the Association presented the family with framed certificates commemorating their visit to Canada marking the 80th Anniversary of William Jacks’ arrival in Canada in 1943. The certificates included a colourized picture of William in Yarmouth in front of a Swordfish on the grounds of Yarmouth’s War Memorial on Main Street during a war bond campaign event in 1943. Gifts exchanged both included the phrase, “Together, We Remember”. For members of the Association, the visits were about bonds of friendship with people that otherwise would have been strangers - a connection made thanks to William Jacks.
Jacks’ Family Visit to Canada, June 2023
Certificates presented to the Ray and Christine, Eileen, and Sheila