b. 02/06/1892 Allandales, Lincolnshire. d. 24/08/1918 Thiepval, France.
Harold Jackson (1892-1918), known as “Chummy”, was born at Kirton, Lincolnshire on 31st May 1892. Not much is known of his early life, though he was a noted amateur boxer and was initially employed as a drayman before he left his home town at the age of 20 to work on the railways at Nottingham. Later he became a bricklayer with the builders Messrs McAlpine.
In April 1915 he joined the 18th Hussars as a trooper, and left for France. A few months later, he was transferred to the East Yorkshire Regiment. He took part in the attack on Fricourt at the beginning of July and was wounded two weeks later at Bazentin. He returned to England and served with a Reserve Battalion before rejoining his regiment in 1917.
On 22nd March 1918 at Hermies, France, Sergeant Jackson volunteered and went out through the hostile barrage and brought back valuable information regarding the enemy's movements. Later, when the enemy had established themselves in our line, this N.C.O. rushed at them, and single-handed, bombed them out into the open. Shortly afterwards, again single-handed, he stalked an enemy machine-gun, threw Mills bombs at the detachment, and put the gun out of action. On a subsequent occasion when all his officers had become casualties, this very gallant N.C.O. led his company in the attack, and, when ordered to retire, he withdrew the company successfully under heavy fire. He then went out repeatedly under heavy fire and carried in wounded.
He was gazetted for the VC on 8th May 1918 and was presented with his medal ribbon by his Corps Commander on 18th May. He was lodging with one of his sisters at 5 Cheshire Road, Bowes Park, Wood Green when his VC was announced. A photograph of him was displayed in Wood Green at the time. On 26th June he went to Buckingham Palace to receive his medal from King George V, and shortly afterwards returned to Kirton, where a photograph was displayed in the Town Hall. He was given a hero’s welcome and he spoke to the assembled people thanking them for their “grand and hearty reception.”
Jackson was killed in action at Flers, near Thiepval, France on 24th August 1918. His body was not recovered until 1927, when his remains were found and he was interred at the AIF Burial Ground, Flers. His medals passed into the hands of his sister, Mrs Mary Searby, and she loaned it to her father to wear to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Unfortunately he didn’t return it and it was only on his death that the medals were returned to Mary. It then passed to his niece, Ms Mabel Scuffham, who lived in Boston, Lincolnshire. The medals were sold at auction at Sotheby’s on 11th May 1989 and fetched £10,450. They are not publicly held.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: AIF BURIAL GROUND, GLAS LANE, FLERS, FRANCE.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT XV, ROW A, GRAVE 21/30
A replica of Jackson's VC (not publicly held) in the Princess of Wales Regiment Museum, York (August 2012)
Beverley Minster (Mick Brand)