|Pilot Squadron Leader
Jackson, 493 C. O. 75 Squadron (KIA, BR) Clayfield, QLD
Crashed April 28, 1942
John Francis Jackson was born in Clayfield, Queensland to parents William James Jackson and Edith Annie Jackson. Married to Elizabeth Helen Jackson. A veteran of North Africa, he was known to his men as "Old John", and
was 34 in 1942. Commander of 75 Squadron during 1942, and flew combat missions along with his brother, Les Jackson. John Jackson
was credited with 8 or 9 victories. After his death, Les Jackson replaced him as C. O. of 75 Squadron. Previously, on April 10, 1942 Jackson bailed out of Kittyhawk A29-24 and a trek before being rescued and returned to Port Moresby on April 24, 1942. Four days later, he was shot down piloting P-40E Warhawk A29-8 on April 28, 1942.
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York during 1941. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as a P-40E Warhawk serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia as part of defense aid.
During March 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Kittyhawk serial number A29-8 and assigned 1 Air Depot (1 AD) and reassembled. On March 8, 1942 assigned to No. 75 Squadron and delivered eight days later. Coded "I". No known nose art or nickname. By March 24, 1942 this Kittyhawk was deemed serviceable and flown from Garbutt Field at Townsville northward to 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby.
On March 25, 1942 this P-40 force landed, pilot unknown but was not damaged.
On April 5, 1942 took off pilot unknown from Port Moresby on a morning mission and sustained damage but landed safely. On the ground, the damage included damaged engine rocker including two valves and valve springs and a broken left back rocker cover left back holed causing an oil leak. The instrument panel was out, the left side of the canopy, tail and left aileron had holes. This P-40 was grounded for two days while repaired.
This P-40 did not fly an interception mission later that day. According to S/Ldr. John Jackson's flight log, he did not fly that day. The Operations Record Book No. 75 Squadron incorrectly states "S/Ldr. Jackson" led an intercept mission, but this was in fact his brother F/Lt Leslie "Les" D. Jackson who led the interception piloting P-40E Kittyhawk A29-9.
On April 28, 1942 took off from 12 Mile Drome (Berry) near Port
Moresby on a mission to intercept A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai. During the air combat, this P-40 was claimed by FPO2c Izumi Hideo. Damaged by gunfire, this P-40 went in a vertical before crashing onto the eastern slope of Mount Lawes killing Jackson on impact. Also lost was P-40E Kittyhawk A29-47 piloted by Cox (MIA).
This P-40 crashed in a vertical dive onto the eastern slope of Mount Lawes. On impact, the engine was buried into the ground and the force of the crash compressed the wing from a width of 8' to only 8" and caused an impact crater.
During the 1970s, Bill Champan recovered
a rudder pedal was recovered for the Air Museum, including one of the .50 caliber machine guns, engine and cockpit
pieces from a 10' deep crater caused by the crash.
During 2005, other relics including the landing gear legs and a machine gun were recovered to a small museum at Schwimmer Drome (14 Mile, Laloki).
Jackson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the crash, his remains were recovered and buried at Bomana War Cemetery at B2. C. 17.
Drome near Port Moresby was
renamed "Jackson Drome" in his honor. Postwar known as "Jackson Airport" or
"Jacksons International Airport".
Today known as "Port Moresby Jacksons International Airport" or "Port Moresby International (Jacksons)".
Outside the old terminal building at Jackson Airport is a wing shaped memorial
dedicated to Jackson. During 2016, a display devoted to John Jackson including wreckage from this Kittyhawk including a bent .50 caliber machine gun and pieces of wreckage was unveiled in the international departure terminal at Jackson Airport.
Note: other sources incorrectly list this P-40's tail code as "H".
S/Ldr John Jackson Flight Log – 5 April 1942
NAA Aircraft status cards - Kittyhawk A29-1 to A29-99 (NAA: A10297, BLOCK 212) - P-40 Kittyhawk A29-8
ADF Serials - P-40E Kittyhawk A29-8
Write-off Min #8 File 9/1/1123 13/07/42, file 16/59/Air (photos)
NAA "Operations Record Book No. 75 Squadron" Barcode: 1068620 page 21
5/4 [April 5, 1942]
0742: 2 Aircraft on security patrol over base.
1040K: S/Ldr JACKSON [sic F/Lt Leslie "Les" D. Jackson piloting P-40E Kittyhawk A29-9], leading formation of 7 Kittyhawk aircraft took off to intercept 7 enemy bombers escorted by fighters reported to be approaching. One enemy bomber and one zero type fighter seen shot down in flames, and considerable damage inflicted on others.
1732K: 7 Kittyhawk aircraft, replacement aircraft, arrived at base from mainland. [Australia]
NAA "Operations 75 Squadron" A1196 / 60/501/100 / 201632 pages 11-12
Southwest Passage The Yanks in the Pacific page 191
CWGC - John Francis Jackson
Visit to P-40E Kittyhawk A28-9 piloted by S/Ldr. John Jackson by John Douglas
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages 78-81, 293 (profile), 331
Thanks to John Douglas, Michael Claringbould, Daniel Leahy, Keith Hopper and Edward Rogers for additional information
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October 16, 2019