Memorial to honour hero unveiled

Courtesy of Boston Borough Council communications.
Courtesy of Boston Borough Council communications.

A ceremony unveiling a new memorial stone has honoured the memory of a community’s war hero 100 years after he received the Victoria Cross.

Sergeant Harold Jackson, from Kirton, was given the honour in 1918 for ‘bravery and devotion to duty’.

Courtesy of Boston Borough Council communications.

Courtesy of Boston Borough Council communications.

Sgt Jackson, of the East Yorkshire Regiment, was said to have brought back information regarding enemy movements, and single-handedly bombed them into the open at Hermies, in France.

He also defeated a machine-gun detachment, and led an attack and subsequent withdrawal of his company under heavy fire before repeatedly returning to recover wounded servicemen.

His relatives recently travelled to Kirton from as far away as Australia for the unveiling of a memorial stone.

A procession took place from the town hall to the war memorial where the new memorial stone was dedicated and unveiled at the foot of the war memorial.

Courtesy of Boston Borough Council communications.

Courtesy of Boston Borough Council communications.

Family members attending included Malcolm Herbert (nephew) who travelled from Clitheroe in Lancashire for the ceremony.

He said: “What this community has done is incredible; to find this is phenomenal.”

Great niece, Jean Middlebrook, husband Aubrey and son Richard attended from Bournemouth and were soon making the acquaintance in Kirton Town Hall of relatives they barely knew about.

Jean said: “I was brought up to know all about Chummy Jackson and what he did. We are very proud and will visit his grave in France on the occasion of the centenary of his death in August.”

Courtesy of Boston Borough Council communications.

Courtesy of Boston Borough Council communications.

Sgt Jackson was killed in action at Mouquet Farm, near Thiepval, Somme, France, on August 24, 1918, aged 26.

His body was located in 1927, close to the same place where he had won his VC, and his ashes were interred at Flers.

Sgt Jackson was the only person in the borough to be awarded the VC.

Jackson Drive in Kirton is named after him.

During the ceremony members of the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment attended.

Major Gary England said: “This means a lot for the regiment, for those currently serving and those who have served, to celebrate 100 years since those brave men and women served their country and their local community.

“There has been a great turnout to mark the occasion.

“There is clearly great regard for Sgt Jackson here – he is their local hero and it makes us very proud.”

Stan Naylor recalled Sgt Jackson’s heroic deeds leading to him receiving the VC and Father Paul Blanch, vicar of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Kirton, dedicated and unveiled the commemorative paving stone at the foot of the war memorial.

Regimental Colonel David O’Kelly, of the East Yorkshire Regiment, read the Exhortation and the Yorkshire Regiment bugler sounded a poignant Last Post as banners were lowered and raised and the Reveille sounded after a minute’s silence.

Mr Toby Dennis, Lord Lieutentant of Lincolnshire read the Kohima Epitaph.

Wreaths were laid by the Lord Lieutenant, Major England, Cllr Turner, Boston Mayor Cllr Bernard Rush, the Royal British Legion and Sgt Jackson’s family.

The National Anthem was led by Kae Turley and Lucy Dopherty from Kirton’s Thomas Middlecott Academy.