One of the Boys: Homosexuality in the Military During World War II
by Paul Jackson
8vo. pp. 338. b/w illustrations. bibliography. index. wrs. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, .
ISBN-10: 0773527729 / ISBN-13: 9780773527720
For many it was as dangerous as friendly fire. Homosexuality and military service have always made strange bedfellows and, as Paul Jackson demonstrates in intimate detail, the regiments of Canadian soldiers fighting during World War II were no exception.
One of the Boys is the first social history of queer servicemen in the Canadian armed forces during World War II and the anti-homosexual policies designed to root them out. Although often accepted and popular within their units, those engaged in "disgraceful conduct of an indecent kind" were increasingly scrutinized by senior military brass. If accused of homosexual behaviour, they were subjected to psychiatric assessments, court-martial proceedings, prison terms, and dishonourable discharges, all of which seriously jeopardized unit cohesion and esprit de corps.
Drawing from a wide array of sources - long-closed court martial records, psychiatric and personnel files, unit war diaries, films, and oral histories - Jackson provides a valuable gendered analysis of the construction of the "military man". One of the Boys tells the story of the Canadian queer servicemen of all ranks and branches who illicitly served their country during World War II.