McCowan, Jack

Jack McCowan was born in 1919 in the then agricultural hamlet of Scarborough, Ontario.  His family owned a farm in the area, and Jack grew up in a large family and accustomed to the hard work of life on the farm.  When the war came, Jack enlisted in the RCAF, though he had started a training stint with the Signal Corps.  Manning depot took place in Lachine, Quebec, and from there Jack began his training, including wireless school in Montreal.  Further training saw him deployed further and further west, and in the end Jack spent most of his war on the west coast, in British Columbia in particular.  The west coast was abuzz with war preparations following Pearl Harbour, and Jack’s wireless training was put to the test in the Queen Charlotte Islands, where it was his duty to listen for distress calls from the Pacific and B.C.’s coastal islands.  Jack ended up being stationed in multiple locales in the west, and he was even stationed all the way in the east too, at a gunnery school in P.E.I.  Jack was never called upon to go overseas; his service to Canada was on the home front, watching and listening to the sea and skies on both coasts.  With the conclusion of the war, Jack returned to Scarborough, where he and his brothers fell into the rhythms of postwar civilian life in the emerging metropolis of Toronto.

Jack McCowan was interviewed for this project by Scott Masters, who visited him at his home in April 2019.