Paley, Jack

Jack Paley was born December 2, 1921 in a Yorkshire village.  His father was a veteran of the Great War, one who had seen action at the Somme and who had been a POW of the Germans.  Jack attended school until he was 14; he went to work at that time as a keymaker, and he was working in Britain’s “shadow industries” when the war broke out, which earned him a military exemption for a time.  When his time came, Jack did enlist.  His initial hope was to go into the artillery, but he was assigned to an anti-aircraft battery, defending British skies against the dreaded Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain period.  Jack wanted something else though – and with more excitement and possible adventure – so he elected to join the paratroopers.  The training regimen was extensive, so much of the middle part of the warJack spent doing jump training.  They would be deployed to North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, where they saw some action.  In relatively short order Jack was sent back to England as plans for the 2nd front were underway, and a big part in the D-day landing was expected for the paras.  And it was at this time that Jack was approached by the Special Air Services (SAS):  they were intensively trained in Scotland and before the war came to a close Jack completed two behind-the-lines missions with them, in France in 1944 and in Italy in 1945.  In both cases, they parachuted in and spent months with resistance units, partisans fighting against the German occupation.  The war ended while Jack was in Italy, and in short order he returned to England, followed by a brief stint in Britain’s occupation force in Palestine.  That was done by 1946, at which point Jack left the army, opting to emigrate to Canada, where he married and raised his own family.  Jack was interviewed by Scott Masters in August 2022, at his home in Markham, Ontario.Paley