Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Serjeant Harold Jackson V.C., 7th Battalion, the East Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action in France.
After leaving school he worked as a drayman, then on the railways, and as a bricklayer for Sir Robert McAlpine’s engineering and construction company. In April of 1915 Serjeant Jackson enlisted with the 18th Royal Hussars and served for several weeks in France before transferring to the East Yorkshire Regiment. In July of 1916 he was present at the capture of Fricourt, and later that month was injured during the Battle of Bazentin Ridge. After returning to England to recuperate, Serjeant Jackson served with a reserve battalion before rejoining his regiment in 1917.
On the 22nd of March, 1918, at Hermies in France, Serjeant Jackson’s actions earned him the award of the Victoria Cross - his citation tells the story: “Sjt. 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 deservedly given a hero’s welcome home with thousands of people turning out to greet him.
Two months later Serjeant Jackson was killed in action at Mouquet Farm, at Flers near Thiepval in France. He was buried near where he fell, and then in 1927 his remains were discovered, after which he was cremated and his ashes interred in the Australian Imperial Forces burial ground at Glas Lane, in Flers. On his headstone are the words: “He heard the call and answered with never a thought of fear”.
Serjeant Jackson has been honoured with Jackson Drive in Kirton named after him, and he is memorialised on the Kirton war memorial (including a memorial paving stone), on the war memorial in Wood Green in North London, and on the Regimental war memorial at Beverley Minster in East Yorkshire.
Harold, from Kirton in Lincolnshire, was 26 years old.