The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX72749) Acting Corporal John Jackson, 8 Division Company Provost Corps, Second World War

Accession Number PAFU/833.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 29 May 2013
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial every day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Craig Berelle the story for this day was on (NX72749) Acting Corporal John Jackson, 8 Division Company Provost Corps, Second World War.

Speech transcript

NX72749 Corporal John Jackson, 8th Division Provost
DOD 29 April 1945
Photograph: P02467.908

Story delivered 29 May 2013

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Corporal John Jackson.

Jackson, a Kamilaroi man, was born near Grafton, New South Wales, in 1913. He grew up in the region and after leaving school worked on dairy farms in the area. He also served in the militia with the 41st Battalion.

He enlisted for service with the Second AIF in March 1941 at a time when Australian government and military policies precluded the service of Indigenous Australians. Despite this, many had already enlisted in the early days of the war and went on to serve overseas.

Jackson's leadership potential was recognised soon after his enlistment; he was promoted, first to Lance Corporal and then to Sergeant just three months later. He was clearly a remarkable man. At the time, this was one of the few opportunities Indigenous Australians had to command white men, and these promotions were based purely on merit.

Prior to embarking for service overseas, he was given a final leave and he returned home. His community gave Jackson and two other Indigenous soldiers also home on leave a send-off at the local town hall. Jackson, who had a fine voice, sang, One day when we were young, a popular song of the day.

Jackson arrived in Singapore in September 1941 and was seconded to the 8th Division Provost Company. In his role as a military policeman, he was responsible for the maintenance of discipline and order - a task which quickly
became more difficult as Allied forces were forced to withdraw down the Malay Peninsula to Singapore.

When Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Jackson was in hospital suffering from the effects of malaria. After becoming a prisoner of war, he was sent to Sandakan in British North Borneo in July 1942 as part of B Force. By October 1943, there were 2,500 Australian and British servicemen at Sandakan, and the majority of these men were put to work building an airstrip. Many prisoners died from the effects of disease and starvation. They were overworked, underfed, and regularly beaten and tortured. Given few of the basic requirements for human survival, the men succumbed to the devastating effects of such tropical illnesses as malaria, dysentery, and beriberi.

John Jackson survived for three years in these trying conditions, but died from unknown causes on 29 April 1945. His name is listed on the Labuan Memorial inside the Labuan War Cemetery, North Borneo. This memorial commemorates Australians and local troops who died as prisoners of the Japanese and who have no known graves.

Jackson's name is listed on the Roll of Honour on your right, along with the names of nearly 8,000 Australians who died as prisoners of war during the Second World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Corporal John Jackson, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

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