War hero honoured at Jacksons Airport
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).
ORIAL MEM WAR N RALIA AUST RE: PICTU