War hero honoured at Jack­sons Air­port

Paradise - - Contents -

Acom­mem­o­ra­tive dis­play for squadron leader John Fran­cis Jackson has opened at Port Moresby’s Jack­sons In­ter­na­tional Air­port, which is named af­ter him.

The dis­play, in the in­ter­na­tional de­par­ture lounge, in­cludes a time­line with pho­tos, uni­forms, let­ters home and other ar­ti­facts.

Jackson was an Aus­tralian fighter ace who served in the Mid­dle East and was awarded the dis­tin­guished fly­ing cross, be­fore be­com­ing a squadron leader in Port Moresby.

He was one of 12 pilots killed from 75 Squadron that de­fended Port Moresby dur­ing 44 days of Ja­panese air at­tacks, from April to May in 1942. The at­tacks pre­ceded the Ja­panese push along the Kokoda Trail.

The squadron was hope­lessly out­num­bered by the Ja­panese, but was suc­cess­ful in a num­ber of counter-at­tacks on Ja­panese air­craft in Lae.

On one sor­tie, Jackson ditched into the sea af­ter be­ing shot by Ja­panese Zeros. He played dead so the Ja­panese would not shoot him from the air, then swam to shore and trekked through jun­gle back to Port Moresby.

Just one week later, he was shot down in his Kit­ty­hawk and killed while de­fend­ing Port Moresby against a Ja­panese bomber at­tack.

The Jackson dis­play ... ar­ti­facts, let­ters and other mem­o­ra­bilia at Jack­sons In­ter­na­tional Air­port (above); Jackson with let­ter in hand (in­set).


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