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  • Christina Drummond

Captain James Jackman VC, 1st Battalion, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1941, Captain James Jackman VC, 1st Battalion, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed at the siege of Tobruk during Operation Crusader. The son of a doctor with a practice in Glenageary, Co. Dublin, he was one of many Irishmen who volunteered to serve in the British forces at the outbreak of the second world war.

These words are taken from his citation: “Captain Jackman showed outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty above all praise when in command of a Machine Gun Company in the Tank attack on the Ed Duda ridge. His magnificent bearing was contributory in a large measure to the success of a most difficult and hard fought action. As the tanks reached the crest of the rise they were met by extremely intense fire from a large number of guns of all descriptions: the fire so heavy that it was doubtful whether the Brigade could maintain its hold on the position. The tanks having settled to beat down the enemy fire, Captain Jackman rapidly pushed up the ridge leading his Machine Gun trucks and saw at once that Anti-Tank Guns were firing at the flank of the tanks, as well as the rows of batteries which the tanks were engaging on their front. He immediately got his guns into action as calmly as though he were on manoeuvres and so secured the right flank. Then, standing up in the front of his truck, he led his trucks across the front between the tanks and guns as there was no other way. His exemplary devotion to duty regardless of danger not only inspired his own men but clinched the determination of the tank crews never to relinquish the position which they had gained. Throughout he coolly directed the guns to their positions and indicated targets to them and seemed to bear a charmed life but later was killed while still inspiring everyone with the greatest confidence.”

James, from Dun Laoghaire in Ireland, was 25 years old.

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