Jack joining up in 1939
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Author:  Alison H [ 13 Aug 2019, 09:41 ]
Post subject:  Jack joining up in 1939

I’m trying to write something about this for the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, and wondered what people thought. War was declared on September 3rd. By the time the triplets were born, only 9 weeks later, Jack was already in France with his regiment. I don’t think even all the regular Army would have been in France by then. He must have gone to the recruitment office the minute the announcement was made, done a super-intensive training course, and got someone to pull some strings at the War Office to make sure he was on one of the first troop ships over!

OK, obviously this was EBD being keen to show that the CS people were Doing Their Bit. Jem was too old for active military service, Dick was over in India, and there weren’t that many other major male characters. But, from the character’s viewpoint, a man in his 30s, with a heavily pregnant wife and an important job, would not have been expected to be amongst the first to volunteer, and yet he was. Was it a general sense of duty? Maybe something to do with coming from a family with military links? Or was it because he’d seen what had happened in Austria once the Nazis took over, and that was what made him so desperate to play his part?

Author:  exile [ 13 Aug 2019, 10:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

I know basic training for doctors that joined the navy in the war was very short, I think 2-3 weeks. So it isn't impossible that Jack could have been in France that soon. IIRC British troops did arrive in France in large numbers pretty quickly because it was thought that the Germans would stage a major attack early in the war.

I suppose he could have been involved in a Guernsey military unit before war broke out and maybe been mobilised faster that way.

In terms of motivation? Well he'd certainly seen what was going on in Austria. He might have thought that there were more important jobs than the San. And maybe he wanted a secure world for his children.

Then I suppose was his position much different from that of other doctors in his age group? A lot of them would have had young families. And they would have been more attractive to the army than young doctors with little experience or older doctors of lower fitness.

EDIT TO ADD: Training for doctors in the navy actually lasted a week at some point in the war, prewar it had been 6 months (unfortunately doctors are the only group of naval officers of the period whose recruitment and training I know virtually nothing about). The British army started moving to France on 4 September and there were over 150000 men there by the end of the month.

Also, there was a lot of re-organisation of civilian medical services at the start of the war, patients and hospitals moved all over the place. I don't know how that affected staff or what happened in the channel islands but it could have been agreed in advance that Jack would join the army in the event of war (did the San have any other youngish British doctors?)

Author:  claire [ 15 Aug 2019, 19:30 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that in the Summer of 1939 all doctors registered with the GMC had to register and have medicals with the military, ready for them being called as soon as war was declared

If you add him being in the Officers Training Corps at university/public school (not uncommon - especially as his older brother was military) - he could easily have been one of the earliest mobilised

Author:  exile [ 15 Aug 2019, 21:52 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

I'd be surprised if he hadn't done OTC at school - but then I suppose so would most other doctors from that background.

Author:  Audrey25 [ 15 Aug 2019, 22:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

Jack was brave going away, especially when Joey was pregnant and so highly strung. I presume too that being a doctor Jack didn't have to join up. I have to say too that Joey seems to have accepted him going to fight without a quibble.

Both of them though would have had more experience than most British people in what was happening through their experiences in Austria. Germany fighting Britain was one thing and rarely would I say is the blame entirely with one country. The nazis though and the Jews, gypsies, gays etc was something else and Joey, Jack had seen it all. That would have governed his thinking.

As this has arisen, can I add something really personal here. Last Friday, my father-in-law was formally presented with his WW2 medals at Carlisle Museum. I think it was on local radio, maybe even the TV. He had never applied for the medals at the time but great grandchildren had been asking him about the war and one of his sons persuaded him to apply.

Like Jack he did not need to join up. He had just finished school in Manchester in 1941 and passed to go to Cambridge uni, but he did as an officer. He was stationed in Carlisle and met my mother-in-law.

He was involved in the D-day landings and during the course of the war was shot twice. After it finished he married. My mil did not want to leave Carlisle. Not many jobs so he was a store man in a warehouse the rest of his working life. He has had a brilliant life. He is widowed now and 96 next month but still goes on hols / ballroom dancing.

Last week when he was being interviewed he was asked if he had a message for the world. It was basically to stay away from war, so terrible, such a waste and he lost so many friends.

Sorry for the spiel but fresh in my mind.

Author:  lizco2 [ 16 Aug 2019, 09:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

Your father-in-law sounds a lovely man. If everyone heard his message and heeded it, what a different world it would be.

Author:  exile [ 16 Aug 2019, 11:26 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

That's a wonderful story, congratulations to him.

Author:  Audrey25 [ 16 Aug 2019, 23:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

Lizco2 and Exile thank you so much.

Author:  Lotte [ 20 Aug 2019, 12:45 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

Don't apologise, that's a lovely story.

Author:  RubyGates [ 09 Oct 2019, 21:25 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

Your father-in-law sounds like a great man Audrey, thank you for sharing his story with us.

As for Jack, EBD may have been keen to show CS types doing their bit but doesn't sound so true for Joey and Madge. Joey didn't even want to take an evacuee let alone do any real war work. I know mothers with children up to the age of 14 were exempt but that didn't stop them wanting to do their bit. ... uring-wwii

Author:  Alison H [ 10 Oct 2019, 13:35 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

I always find that annoying. I'm sure Madge would have been the first to volunteer to host make do and mend meetings, roll bandages, etc! Bride talks about Miss Leigh not being able to "get off" war service now that Lavender's 14, which isn't exactly the Doing Our Bit attitude, and the mysterious Jean McKenzie makes a snooty remark about how Joey should take Flora and Fiona so she won't get landed with working-class oiks being evacuated from the cities!

By contrast, Peggy Primrose, Monica's auntie in Monica Turns Up Trumps, volunteers for firewatching and various other activities.

Author:  Lotte [ 12 Oct 2019, 13:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

Having an evacuee would have been a really interesting plotline. It could have been like Carrie's War or something.

Author:  lizco2 [ 12 Oct 2019, 15:24 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

Lotte wrote:
Having an evacuee would have been a really interesting plotline. It could have been like Carrie's War or something.

And the evacuee would sure to be a long-lost family member of one of the clans!

Author:  Alison H [ 12 Oct 2019, 15:58 ]
Post subject:  Re: Jack joining up in 1939

What about all Madge and Jo's long-forgotten cousins :lol: ?

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