Friday, 12 April 2013

RSM Arthur Jackson

The recent death of my father has brought all sorts of things to light, including some photographs of my maternal grandfather, Arthur Jackson. He was a member of the Territorial Army before the Second World War, and was mobilised in September 1939. His unit was sent to France to be part of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) and he was evacuated from Dunkirk. He was extremely lucky to have been evacuated as he had been wounded and a large number of the wounded were left behind to become prisoners of war.

Once he had recovered he was on active service for the rest of the war, and ended it as a Troopship's Regimental Sergeant Major. (He was in charge of the administration and onboard discipline of military personnel travelling aboard troopships.) His work took him to almost every theatre of operations, and he was awarded:
  • The War Medal 1939-1945
  • The 1939-1945 Star
  • The Italy Star
  • The Atlantic Star
  • The Burma Star
  • The Pacific Star (I don't think that he should have been awarded the Pacific Star as he had already qualified for the Burma Star. What he should have been awarded was a clasp to the Burma Star.)

Relaxing aboard ship ... with a bottle of beer.
Musical entertainment aboard a troopship.
After he was demobbed, my maternal grandfather worked as an ornamental blacksmith, and I understand that he produced some of the gates mounted at the entrances of several Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries in Europe. I was only young when he died, but I am proud to have had Arthur as my maternal grandfather.

An aside: Some years ago I had to address a meeting at the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich. As I was handed the microphone by Major General Michael Steele, the PA system stopped working. When I made the comment that both my father and my grandfather had been senior Royal Artillery NCOs, and that if I could not make myself heard using just my own voice, then I was a disgrace to my forebears, everyone in the room laughed! None of them had any problem hearing what I had to say ... and Gunners are notorious for having bad hearing.

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