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Jack Metcalf

PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co C, HQ & Service Co

Military occupational specialty: 50 (carpenter, general)


Born 1910 in France, Died 1984


County of residence at enlistment: New York County, NY
Other residence(s): New York, NY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: commercial artists
Notes: "Melonhead"
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Photo Caption Seymour Nussenbaum Scrapbook; Unit Shipment 10143-B, 23d HQ, from le Havre 23 June 1945; HQ & Service Company List of Men and Jobs;; Ghost Army Days of Walter Arnett

Jack Metcalf was born of American parents in Neuilly, France on September 1, 1910. His father was a silk manufacturer, and the family appears to have traveled back and forth between France and New York City. Jack could be seen in shipboard records traveling with his mother from France to New York in 1912 at the age of two.

Sometime after he graduated from high school, Jack found work as a taxidermist, working as an assistant to Louis Paul Jonas in the well-known Jonas Brothers Studio in New York. While he had no formal training in sculpture, he modeled in clay and painted in his taxidermy work.

"Gazelles Running," 1929

One of his works, a sculpture entitled "Gazelles Running", was made in 1929, when he was only 19, and is now displayed in the Gallery of Small Sculpture at Brookgreen Gardens in Myrtle Beach, SC. The sculpture shows the beautiful musculature of the gazelles, and was clearly influenced by his taxidermy training.

The 1930 census lists him living in Manhattan and working as a taxidermist. In 1932, he participated in the Jonas Brothers' taxidermy of famous racehorse Phar Lap, a piece which is now housed in the Melbourne Museum in Australia.

At the time he filled out his draft registration on October 16, 1940, he listed his place of work as "Decorators' Plaster Studio" at the same New York City address as his residence, so perhaps he was in business for himself at that point.

He enlisted in the Army on October 22, 1942, where his profession was listed as commercial artist.

GA veteran Walter Arnett tells a story about an event that occurred near the end of the war, after the German surrender, when General Gerow "busted" Metcalf to a private after "catching him use his helmet to hold water for a painting he was making."

Jack was released from the Army on September 19, 1945, and returned to New York City, where he is listed in a series of Manhattan directories as a sculptor. Little is known of his career, however.

He died on February 9, 1984, in Smallwood, New York.


1930 census

1940 draft card

1942 enlistment record

1948 New York City directory (lists profession as sculptor)

1984 VA death record

1984 Social Security death record

2009 Book about Brookgreen Gardens, Myrtle Beach SC

Walter Arnett Ghost Army Days (two references)

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