Even at this early age, he and all his mates, wanted to get into the action.
So at 16 (1941) he joined the local Earith Home Guard, which at that time had about 40 members, with a great mix of First World War veterans and keen local lads.
Within a year he was a corporal, and his intense training, proved to be invaluable later on as a regular.
He was also a member of the local Commando unit, set up to counteract any airborne invasion, but when he was the regulation 17 and a quarter, he only wanted to join his heroes – The Black Watch, because they were the toughest!
However, because he was a farm worker, he was rejected because it was a reserved occupation.
So he left farming, to become a coalman in a desperate bid to get into the army.
Jack eventually had to appear in front of 12 people of the War Agriculture Committee in Huntingdon, before he got his wish and signed up for 7 & 5, (7 years regular, 5 years reserve).
He was straight up to Glasgow, and into the Maryhill Barracks, for his preliminary training with the Black Watch, it was now 1943.
Many people still can’t understand why an Englishman with the name of Wales, would want to join a Scottish Regiment!
(Extract from ‘One Man’s Story: John Wales’ by Dave Brown)
See all of John Wales‘ blog posts.