Willcocks, Jim

Jim Willcocks celebrated his 100th birthday not too long ago, and an article in his local Orillia newspaper notes, he still likes to go out dancing. We met Jim courtesy of the Royal Canadian Legion in Orillia, and Scott Masters interviewed Jim in July 2018. Jim Second World War service took place in Canada, as Jim had valuable skills that the military and government deemed necessary for the home front: Jim was an automobile mechanic, and it was determined that he could best serve by using those skills in the proving grounds near Ottawa. Jim’s task was to test out tanks and trucks, and whatever else came his way, to make sure it worked properly before going overseas. When a problem was found, such a tank’s gyroscope’s engine overheating, Jim diagnosed the problem and dealt with it in Canada, before it became an issue for the fighting men overseas. Jim had been on parade and expected to go overseas; it was only at the last moment that his trade was identified and he was held back, something that sat well with Jim, as he had a young wife and three young children by 1941. So the family was moved to Ottawa, and that is where Jim spent the war years. When the war concluded, he was able to get his job back, and he and his young family returned to Toronto, where they fell into the rhythm of civilian life and played their part in our postwar history.