5441821 W/Sgt. Jackson R.N

Discussion in 'General' started by chingoo, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. chingoo

    chingoo Active Member

    Would like to share this for interest.

    Last summer I decided to research my Grandfather's military history. He sadly died 21 years ago when I was 9. He rarely spoke of his time in the war, mainly because my grandmother didn't like to talk about it. The result was that little was known by my aunt, uncle and mother. He had talked a little to my father (who had served in the TA in the 80's) but again the stories were limited. We knew he was Ack-Ack and that he had been in NW Europe post D-day. Stories of coming ashore a few days after D-day, going into Holland and crossing the Rhine were all that were known.

    Luckily, one document that the family still had was his Record of Service.

    Record of Service.jpg

    From this I could see that he had served in DCLI, Royal Sussex and RA with his service in NWE coming while in the RA. Obviously the RA is huge with many LAA regts so it would have been impossible to know which part he served with. I went ahead and ordered his military record from the MOD but was aware this could take up to a year. I wanted to keep looking for myself and see if I could solve the mystery while I waited.

    I was incredibly lucky though. The 7th Battalion of the Royal Sussex was reformed in 1942 into a LAA unit in the RA. This regt was the 109 (Royal Sussex) LAA, RA. Could this be the regiment my grandfather ended up in? There was no way of knowing for sure but I looked at where they served and the pieces started to fit. I decided to order the War Diaries of the 109 from a member of this forum (thanks Andy) in the hope that I would find his name somewhere in the documents. I went through every page of the records from 1942-46. There was only one mention of "Jackson" in all the pages, but it was enough to give me hope that I was on the right track.

    July 1944 hit record.jpg

    I had another stroke of luck through this forum. Back in 2009 a member (who unfortunately is now inactive) posted a thread about a load of bits he had been given by a captain of the 109. He uploaded some of the pictures, including this one of 357 bty, "C" troop.


    Starting on the bottom left and moving through the ranks I searched for a familiar face. I thought the chances of actually seeing my grandfather were close to impossible. As I looked at each face I felt the hope fade until, with 2 faces left, I recognised someone. My heart was pounding at the thought I had found my grandfather. I emailed the picture to my sister, cousins, father and mother and asked them all if they recognised someone. They all picked out the same face.

    Granddad Jackson.jpg

    I knew my grandfather in his 70s and the man in the picture was in his 20s. The characteristics were there but I still couldn't be sure. I knew the only way to confirm it was to wait for the records to come back from the MOD. But I had the bug and wanted to continue looking into the war diaries and map his campaign through Europe, which I did! (but that is for another post).

    Today, much faster than I thought (but still a few months on), I received the military records from the MOD. With heart pounding again I opened up the documents. This was one of the first pages I looked at, and on the top right corner it had the proof I had been looking for.

    Service and Casualty Form.jpg

    So I knew he was in the 109. A huge relief! But I had a nice bit of extra proof that the man in the picture was in fact my grandfather, and also the history I had researched (357 bty) was correct.

    Notification of impending release.jpg

    The stamp on the right hand side clearly states "357 bty". And for me that was the final piece of the puzzle.

    I am still going through the war diaries and piecing together his campaign but one thing we do know, is that while in Normandy he was tasked with airfield protection for 2TAF. Every year my father, myself and a group of enthusiasts make the journey to Arromanches for June 6. Next year I hope to go to the village where the first airfield my grandfather protected with his 40mm bofors was, Le Fresne Camilly.

    I got some great help form people from this site and wanted to say thank you. I've loved every second of unravelling the mystery of my grandfathers history.

    Thanks for reading,

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Well done with your research - although he would not tell you the trail was always there
  3. chingoo

    chingoo Active Member

    I was lucky that all the pieces were there. I know some people get the records and find no answers. But it was a fun ride none-the-less. The war diaries are taking a long time to decipher but i have got up to december 1944 so far. Even found out exactly where he crossed the Rhine. Hoping to put all that info together and posting it when it is done.

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