LEST WE FORGET
Flying Officer Wilfred JACKSON
Service No: 408522
Born: Nhill VIC, 22 April 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 April 1941
Unit: No. 100 Squadron, Goodenough Island
Died: Air Operations: (No. 100 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-472), Goodenough Island, 14 December 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Wilfred and Annie Victoria Jackson, of Traralgon, Victoria.
Roll of Honour: Coburg VIC
Remembered: Panel 105, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Three nights later, the Beauforts took off at 8.30 to strike once more at Lakuni. After the usual type of Rabaul strike, at Cape St. George, some of the Beauforts were intercepted by Japanese night fighters, then again 35 miles further south. A little after 1 a.m. the men back at camp were watching the lights of the home-coming bombers, one by one coming in from the sea, flashing the letter-of-the-day, receiving a return signal from the duty pilot’s tower, then coming around over the campsites in a wide circuit. The flarepath was lit and the planes came in, one by one, their landing
lights on, as they lined up the strip and received the green light. The ops. staff was counting them
as they came in, hoping that all would set down safe and sound.
There was a sudden burst of tracer and then a great flash. Then a sharp rattle of machine-gun fire
and the terrific burst of a bomb. Almost at once, the flarepath went out and the planes still in the sky switched off their lights. There was still the light of a flame down on the airstrip. A Japanese fighter-bomber, probably a Dinah, had followed the Beauforts all the way back home. Pilot Officer Theodor Kleinig (416433), who was coming in, wheels and flaps down, ready to land, had been strafed, but the Japanese had overshot. Flying Officer Barry Fuller in A9-472 had taxied into his dispersal bay, when the bomb fell crashing a few yards from the starboard engine. Flying Officers Wilf Jackson and Jack Walsh were critically wounded by the shrapnel. During the night, Jackson received two blood transfusions, but died from his wounds. Walsh had his left leg amputated. Flying Officers Fuller and Ronald Flanagan miraculously escaped. Another Beaufort, A9-437, piloted by Flight Sergeant Hitchins (1), was holed by bomb shrapnel from the fighter-bomber. At the same time, Warrant Officer Kitchen was belly-landing on the emergency strip. The next day, 25 officers of the squadron attended the burial service of Wilf Jackson at the American cemetery down by the sea. At the jetty on an American ship, Old Glory was at half-mast.
(1) Air Commodore David Wilson Hitchins (O5836) was discharged from the RAAF on 14 February 1978.
Extract from Graham, B. (Burton) and Frank Smyth, A Nation Grew Wings: The Story of the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons in New Guinea, Winterset House Publishers Melbourne VIC, 1946 – Pages 82-3
The crew members of A9-472 were:
Flying Officer Ronald Robert Flanagan (415938) (Wireless Air Gunner) Uninjured, Discharged from the RAAF: 13 November 1945
Flying Officer Barry Kendall Fuller (402794) (Pilot) Uninjured, Discharged from the RAAF: 10 November 1944
Flying Officer Wilfred Jackson (408522) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Joseph Edward Walsh (406225) (Wireless Air Gunner) Critically Wounded, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 June 1944
Earlier that evening No. 100 Squadron Beaufort A9-211 (Flight Sergeant John Eardley Kenny (415663) (Pilot)) went missing.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 258
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990