Warrant Officer Norman Cyril Jackson VC

13 Jan

I do not intend to write all stories about the brave men who won the Victory Cross, but there is one man who deserves more recognition for you the reader. His name was Norman Cyril Jackson. He was born in Ealing, London on April 8th 1919. Through problems he was adopted by a family named Gunter, when he was only a few weeks old. They set him on the right path in his life and he passed for the grammar school at Twickenham. When at school Norman was always interested in engineering and on leaving school he carried on this interest by becoming a Fitter and Turner with an Engineering Company. In 1939, when the dark clouds of war loomed he joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. He was trained at Halton and Hednesford where he passed the RAF Engineering exams.
Promoted to Sergeant he was Flight Engineer on a Lancaster bomber on many bombing missions over Germany. The mission that won Sergeant Jackson his Victoria Cross happened on the night of 26/27 April 1944 when 215 Lancaster bombers and 11 Mosquitoes raided Schweinfurt. The path finding aircraft inaccurately marked the target, also contending with strong headwinds and enemy fighters attacking constantly. With all this to contend with the bombs were dropped successfully. The aircraft was climbing out of the target area when it was attacked by an enemy fighter at about 20,000 feet. The Captain took evading action at once but the enemy fighter with a burst of his machine gun secured hits on the Lancaster’s starboard wing which started a fire between the inner engine and the plane’s fuselage. During the engagement with the fighter, Sergeant Jackson was wounded by splinters in his right leg and shoulders. Although shaken up, he told the Captain he could deal with the fire on the wing. The Captain gave him permission to deal with the fire.
Pushing a small fire extinguisher in the top of his life jacket and putting on his parachute pack. Sergeant Jackson jettisoned the escape hatch above the pilots head. He then started to climb out of the cockpit and along the fuselage to the starboard wing. Before he left the fuselage his parachute opened and the whole canopy and rigging spilled into the cockpit. Unbelievably Sergeant Jackson continued on trying to reach the fire. The Pilot, Navigator and Bomb Aimer gathered the parachute together and leased it gently out has the sergeant crawled along to his objective. With the plane travelling at 200 mph and with strong headwinds Sergeant Jackson fell from the fuselage onto the wing. He reached out and got a hold on the air intake and succeeded in hanging on, but unfortunately he lost the fire extinguisher. The fire by now was spreading rapidly and Sergeant Jackson was getting severely burned to his face and hands etc. Unable to hang on anymore he was swept away over the starboard wing with his parachute trailing behind. He survived the parachute landing but broke his ankle when he hit the ground and suffering with burns he was captured and interred where he was put in a hospital for ten months recovering from his burns.
With the fire spreading rapidly the Captain of the Lancaster gave the order to abandon the aircraft. Four of the crew landed safely but the Captain of the Lancaster, Flying Officer F. Miffin and the rear gunner were killed. Sergeant Jackson’s experience did not come to light until after the war when prisoners were repatriated back to England. Sergeant Jackson had said nothing about what had happened but the navigator Flight Lieutenant Higgins and the other survivors of the Lancaster told the story and they recommended him for the Victoria Cross. He was awarded the Victoria Cross in October 1945. After the war He married raised a family but always struggled with the injuries he received during the war. Norman Cyril Jackson died in March 1994 and his buried in Middlesex England.
One in this present day cannot visualize the sheer bravery of the RAF aircrews during World War Two. I and you the reader must be quite astonished to read and comprehend about such a very brave man as Warrant Officer Norman Cyril Jackson VC.

Alan

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: