John Francis Jackson

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John Francis Jackson, 1942,

John Francis Jackson, DFC (23 February 1908 – 28 April 1942) was an Australian fighter ace and squadron commander of World War II. He had eight aerial victories, and led No. 75 Squadron during the Battle of Port Moresby in 1942. Born in Brisbane, he was a grazier and businessman. He had his own private plane when he joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Reserve in 1936. In 1939, at the start of the war, he was called up for active service. Jackson served with No. 23 Squadron in Australia before he was posted to the Middle East in November 1940. As a fighter pilot with No. 3 Squadron he flew Gloster Gladiators, Hawker Hurricanes and P-40 Tomahawks during the North African and Syria–Lebanon campaigns.

Jackson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Mentioned in Despatches for his actions in the Middle East. In March 1942, while serving in the South West Pacific theatre, he was promoted to squadron leader. He was in command of No. 75 Squadron at Port Moresby in Papua, operating P-40 Kittyhawks. Described as "rugged, simple" and "true as steel",[1] Jackson, aged 34, was nicknamed "Old John" by his much younger squadron members. He was praised for his leadership during the defence of Port Moresby. He was killed in action on 28 April 1942. His younger brother Les took over No. 75 Squadron, and also became a fighter ace. Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby, is named in John Jackson's honour.

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