b. 08/04/1919 Ealing, London. d. 26/03/1994 Hampton Hill, London.
Born in Ealing, Middlesex, Jackson joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1939 and originally served as an engine fitter. He retrained as a flight engineer and on 28 July 1943 he joined No. 106 Squadron which operated Avro Lancaster bombers. Jackson completed his tour of 30 missions on 24 April 1944 but, as he had flown one sortie with a different crew, he chose to fly once more so that his original aircrew finished their tour together. Jackson's 31st mission took place on the night of 26–27 April 1944, when his crew flew in a raid on the German ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt.
Having bombed the target, Jackson's Lancaster (serial ME669) was attacked by a German night fighter and a fuel tank in the starboard wing caught fire. Jackson, already wounded from shell splinters, strapped on a parachute and equipped himself with a fire extinguisher before climbing out of the aircraft and onto the wing, whilst the aeroplane was flying at 200 mph, in order to put out the fire. He gripped the air intake on the leading edge of the wing with one hand, and fought the fire with the other. The flames seared his hands, face, and clothes. The fighter returned, and hit the bomber with a burst of gunfire that left two bullets in his legs. The burst also swept him off the wing, leaving him to fall 20,000 ft with a smouldering and holed parachute.
He suffered further injuries upon landing, including a broken ankle, but managed to crawl to a nearby German village where he was paraded through the street. He spent 10 months recovering in hospital before being transferred to the Stalag Kc prisoner of war camp. He made two escape attempts, the second of which was successful as he made contact with a unit of the US Third Army.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: TWICKENHAM CEMETERY, LONDON.
Norman Jackson's medals including VC on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London (August 2014).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
SECTION O, GRAVE 181
Union Jack Club
Yorkshire Air Museum (Stewart May)