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Joey Jacobson's War: A Jewish-Canadian Airman in the Second World War

Joey Jacobson's War: A Jewish-Canadian Airman in the Second World War

by Peter J. Usher


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In the spring of 1940 Canada sent hundreds of highly trained volunteers to serve in Britain's Royal Air Force as it began a concerted bombing campaign against Germany. Nearly half of them were killed or captured within a year. This is the story of one of those airmen, as told through his own letters and diaries as well as those of his family and friends.

Joey Jacobson, a young Jewish man from Westmount on the Island of Montreal, trained as a navigator and bomb-aimer in Western Canada. On arriving in England he was assigned to No. 106 Squadron, a British unit tasked with the bombing of Germany. Joey Jacobson’s War tells, in his own words, why he enlisted, his understanding of strategy, tactics, and the effectiveness of the air war at its lowest point, how he responded to the inevitable battle stress, and how he became both a hopeful idealist and a seasoned airman. Jacobson's written legacy as a serviceman is impressive in scope and depth and provides a lively and intimate account of a Jewish Canadian's life in the air and on the ground, written in the intensity of the moment, unfiltered by the memoirist's reflection, revision, or hindsight. Accompanying excerpts from his father's diary show the maturation of the relationship between father and son in a dangerous time.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781771123426
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Publication date: 01/31/2018
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Peter J. Usher was born in Montreal in 1941. For many years he studied, wrote about, and advised on the environmental and social effects of resource development in Canada's North. Inspired by his cousin Joey Jacobson's letters and diaries, he began writing about the experience of Canadian airmen in the Second World War. He is married and lives near Clayton, Ontario.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations vii

Preface ix

Acknowledgements xvii

Part 1 Father and Son

1 September 1939 3

2 Preston 15

3 Enlistment 25

4 Toronto 35

5 Regina 49

6 Mossbank 63

7 Rivers 75

8 Montreal 83

9 Debert 91

Part 2 Discoveries

10 The North Atlantic 101

11 The Blitz 109

12 England 117

13 Operational Training 127

14 A Canadian's Estimate of England 141

15 A Home Away from Home 153

16 Preparing for Battle 165

Part 3 Night Bombing

17 Bomber Command 175

18 Initiation 185

19 Confidence Affirmed 199

20 The Four Horsemen 207

21 Confidence Tested 213

22 A Brotherhood Lost 225

23 Action and Inaction 233

24 Questions and Doubts 247

25 Winding Down 257

Part 4 Holding the Line

26 New Ideas 267

27 December Doldrums 279

28 New Directions 295

29 28 January 1942 309

Part 5 Failed to Return

30 Requiem 323

31 Holland 339

32 Epilogue 355

Notes on Sources 361

Notes 373

Index 385

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