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"The first paying job..."

Heroes Remember

"The first paying job..."

I looked at all the ads of course, and the, and the "Uncle Sam Wants You" and all that stuff, but the air force was so much more romantic. It was, it had Spitfires and it had fighter airplanes and all that good stuff, and much more so than either the army or the navy. And so I was determined to join the air force. It was just, it was just automatic. In other words, there was no, I didn't have any great flag waving and all the, all that stuff. No, no, it was, it was just automatic. I was a person and there was a war on and that was it. There was, I didn't have any of the patriotism, well I mean there was, you were patriotic ‘cause you had to go and help, but there was, there was no emotion in that direction to it, to the thing, it was just, it was just, you just did it, that was the thing you did. And I guess, I guess not all the people in our town did, but a very great percentage of them did. Now, if, if you can philosophize 65 years later and say, well, there were so, the unemployment was so bad, this was the place to go and get paid, wasn't it? To join the army, you were going to have the first job that you ever had in your life, if you were 18. And I'm sure that a lot of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, that was the reason they, they joined. There wasn't anything patriotic about it at all.

Mr. Coffell discusses his and other recruits' reasons for enlisting.

John ( Jack ) Coffell

Mr. Coffell was born June 1, 1924, in Moncton, New Brunswick. At the age of two, he lost his mother. His family moved to Amherst, Nova Scotia, where he lived until he enlisted. With his father unemployed, and an unemployment rate of 50 percent, he was dertermined to pass Grade 11 so he could enter the Royal Canadian Air Force. He eventually qualified as a navigator and went overseas to join 429 Squadron, 6 Group. Mr. Coffell's theatre of duty was Northern Europe. At the end of his service overseas, he returned to Canada aboard the Queen Mary.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John ( Jack ) Coffell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
429 Squadron
Flying Officer

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