Jack was born on September 15, 1915 at Petrolia, Ontario. He worked as a Bank Clerk at the TD Bank.
He enlisted in the RCAF at Kingston in September 1940. He trained at #1 Manning Depot, Toronto; Guard Duty at Debert, N.S.(Winter - 1940); #3 ITS, Victoriaville, Que.; #5 AOS, Winnipeg, Man.; #3 B&G, MacDonald, Man.;
#1 Astro Navigation School, Rivers, Man., where he received his Observer Wing in November 1941.
He was posted to the UK in December 1941. He did his OTU at Millom, Wellesbourne. He was posted to
#158 Squadron, RAF - 4 Group, Bomber Command (Halifax II) at Eastmoor, Yorkshire.
His Crew on Ops:F/L Geoffrey Porter RAF; NAV - Sgt. Jack Patterson RCAF; BA - Sgt. Don Hall RCAF;
FE - Sgt. Joe Gissing RCAF; WOP - Sgt. Frank Linklater RCAF; * MUAG - Sgt. Bail Collins RAF; RAG - Sgt. Ken
Wilman RHODESIA AF: All POW’s (except Basil Collins - *Killed in action) NOTE Geoff Porter stayed with the RAF after the war. Flew Vampire jets and retired as a Wing Commander.
Our first two OPS were the first two 1000 bomber raids on Cologne & Essen, in a Wellington from OTU, Wellesbourne. Flying into a Balloon Barage over Liverpool and subsequently landing in Wales with direction help of searchlights, with just enough petrol to get down.
Target Duisberg, July 15th 1942, hit by a night fighter, killing the mid-upper gunner. Bailed out over Holland.
Rear Gunner and I were on the loose for 10 days.
Stalag 8B: In January 1944 did a swap over with a Dunkirk British Army chap ( Sammy Crickton) from Isle of Brite in the Clyde. I went on a working party planning to escape. I found myself at Auschwitz, Poland.
At Auschwitz I was with a group of about 400 British Army chaps. Frank Linklater our Wireless Operator was with me (since deceased from TB after discharge.
After 3 months, half of the group including Frank were moved to another location. The concentration camp was about a mile from our compound. Our compound was on the edge of a large “J.Farbon” complex under construction to use the soft coal of the area, to produce lubricants etc. Most of the concentration camp prisoners came in daily work parties, as did our small group, including many forced laborers from all over Europe. There were no smoking signs in 10 languages.
After my mid-upper gunner was moved, I was the only Canadian there. Beginning in spring 1944, the complex was bombed by American daylight bombers from Italy. Sixteen of our chaps were killed in the first raid. Almost daily at 12 o’clock, air raid sirens, but the formation flew on to other targets, except for 5 times.
Marched out in January 1945 for the long march west, eventually liberated by Patton’s 3rd Army.
Perhaps my most memorable rememberance, happened while I was in the prison camp. The almost daily contact at Auschwitz, over about four months, with a Jewish chap called Franz.
He had been a school teacher in Berlin and spoke good English. We were able to get together for a short time at the noon hour break. Franz did his best to teach me German and I brought him extra food. Our last time together was just before Christmas 1945. As far as I know he didn’t survive the war. I wrote to his uncle in Australia when I returned to Canada, using an address he had given me, but no reply.
On returning to England in 1945, Don Hall, Frank Linklater and myself were commissioned. I received notice of my last promotion to F/O, a year after discharge.
Jack was demobbed in Toronto in 1945 and then spent 2 years in a Sanitorium, recovering from TB after discharge.
Returned to TD Bank in 1949 and retired in 1978 as Manager in Wallaceburg, Ontario.
Jack married Dorothy and they have 2 sons and a daughter. December 20/2001