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William Jacks Leading Air Mechanic Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy William Jacks was born in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, Scotland on March 18, 1921, the son of William Henry and Annie Humes (Nee Murray) Jacks. On May 3, 1941, he married Margaret Amy Donnellan and they lived at 323 Clock Face Road, St. Helens, Lancashire [now Merseyside]. William enlisted in the Royal Navy on October 27, 1941 and served in the Fleet Air Arm as a Air Mechanic [engines] until February 26, 1946. He was 20 years of age at the time of his enlistment. The Royal Navy was short of space for training and other functions and took over several holiday camps. The Warner’s Holiday Camp at Puckpool Park, Ryde, Isle of Wight was one of these commissioned in November 1940. He was assigned there, a drafting station, HMS Medina between December 5, 1941 and January 1, 1942 with the Rank of Air Mechanic 2nd Class. Portsmouth, just across the Solent was often under heavy aerial bombardment, so when not on duty, the men slept in underground shelters. Those posted here had to take turns being seawall sentries, and could witness air raids on the other side of the Solent as Portsmouth was being raided. On January 2, 1942 William was assigned to HMS Daedalus where he continued his training as an Air Mechanic. He was then transferred to HMS Condor between May 29, 1942 and December 27, 1942. HMS Condor was Royal Naval Air Station, at Arbroath, near Dundee, in Scotland. HMS Condor was being used as No 2 Observers School, a Deck Landing Training (DLT) School, and a Naval Air Signals School during World War II. The airfield and it's facilities were used by visiting Naval Air Squadrons as a home base usually, when their home carriers were berthed in the Firth of Forth or the Clyde. William’s next assignment was East Camp, Telegraphist Air Gunners School (Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm) at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in Canada. He was posted to HMS Waxwing, a shore base on the Clyde used by Royal Navy personnel en route to Canada. He arrived there on December 28, 1942 and on January 21, 1943 departed the United Kingdom for Canada. He reported for duty at the school on January 26th as did Commander E. Featherstone who commanded Maintenance Wing. (No 1 NAGS was referred to as “No 2 TAG School, RCAF Yarmouth Nova Scotia” to distinguish it from No 1 TAG school, RN Air Station, Worthy Down, Winchester, Hampshire, England) William’s Rank was now Air Mechanic 1st Class. In February, 1943 the Aircraft Strength was 23 Ansons and 9 Swordfish. (10 Seamews were added to the aircraft strength ion March 13, 1943). RCAF personnel at the base were 9 officers, 196 men (all ground crew) and RAF personnel, 27 officers with an aircrew of 41 men, 1 officer (ground crew) and 199 men (ground crew). The Royal Navy personnel consisted of 35 officers (aircrew), 148 men (aircrew); 3 officers (ground crew) and 277 (ground crew). In March, 1943 a Large draft of naval personnel (350) arrived from England for Maintenance Wing and by September of 1943 the Aircraft Strength consisted of 1 Anson I, 45 Anson II, 66 Swordfish, 1 Walrus, 1 Lysander, 2 Lysander IIIA, 61 Seamews, and 10 Seamews (Reserve). For William there would have been lots to do when not on duty. Most personnel at the base became friends with the local population, visited their homes, spent time at the Red Triangle Canteen at the local YMCA, frequented the local restaurants and theatres or spent time at Braemar Lodge, located outside of Yarmouth on Braemar Lake, rented by East Camp, for summer activities to provide a location away from the base for relaxation from training. William remained at East Camp until January 1945 when he was re-assigned to HMS Daedalus. He departed East Camp having served there for three years. He departed for the United Kingdom on January 11, 1945, passing through HMS Moncton, in New Brunswick and reporting at HMS Daedalus on January 30, 1945. His next assignment would be at HMS Ringtail in Burscough Lancashire in 735 and 707 squadrons as Acting Lead Air Mechanic. He completed his service with the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy on February 26, 1946. After the war William and his wife moved to Pollitt Cres., St Helens. They had five children William Ronald, born 1941, Margaret Ann born 1947, Eileen Veronica born 1949, Robert Leslie born 1952, and Raymond born 1959. William worked as a bus conductor for some time then worked in a glass factory in St Helens until he started as a long distance lorry driver. He then moved into the workshop as foreman fitter responsible for maintaining some 100 or so lorries. All three sons followed him into the haulage business, William Ronald as a driver and both Robert and Raymond as HGV fitters. William Jacks died on April 6, 1988 at home in St Helens. He was was cremated and his ashes buried at St Helens cemetery. Sources: Raymond Jacks (son of William Jacks)
Remembering William Jacks
East Camp - Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy Telegraphist Air Gunner School