The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (106735) Aircraftwoman Florence May Jackson, Wireless Telegraphy Station Brisbane, and WAAAF, Second World War

Place Oceania: Australia, Queensland, Brisbane
Accession Number PAFU2014/441.01
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 28 November 2014
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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each 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 (106735) Aircraftwoman Florence May Jackson, Wireless Telegraphy Station Brisbane, and WAAAF, Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

106735 Aircraftwoman Florence May Jackson, Wireless Telegraphy Station Brisbane, and WAAAF
KIA 27 March 1943
Photograph: P10995.002

Story delivered 28 November 2014

Today we pay tribute to Aircraftwoman Florence May Jackson, who was killed on active service with the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force in 1943.

Born in the north-western Sydney suburb of Ryde on 18 November 1917, Florence Jackson was the daughter of William and Lanetta Jackson. William was a veteran of the Gallipoli campaign, and he re-enlisted to serve in the army during the Second World War. Little is known about her early life, except that she attended the local school and trained as a shorthand typist. In 1941 Jackson married Gurth Baker in Sydney, choosing to keep her maiden name.

Jackson enlisted in the WAAAF in Bankstown in October 1942. Due to her experience as a stenographer, the WAAAF assigned Jackson to train as a teleprinter operator. She completed the one-month training course at the training school in Bankstown before being posted to the Headquarters North-Eastern Area in Townsville. The WAAAF was extremely busy in Townsville, providing vital support to both the Royal Australian Air Force and the United States Army Air Corps in the area. Over 27,000 Australian women enlisted in the WAAAF during the course of the war and many served at the Townsville base.

On 27 March 1943 Jackson was allowed leave to visit her parents in Sydney. It would be the first time that she was able to see them since joining the WAAAF six months previously. Her father was serving as a corporal in the Australian Army, and he, too, had organised leave so that he could see his daughter.

In the early hours of the morning Jackson joined a large group of servicemen and servicewomen for the transport flight from Brisbane to Sydney. The Douglas C46 Dakota took off at 5 am in conditions of poor visibility. An engine failed shortly after take-off and the aircraft crashed into heavy timber, catching fire immediately. All 23 occupants were killed instantly. Florence Jackson was 25 years old.

A full military funeral for the fallen was held in Brisbane. Large and silent crowds lined Adelaide Street as the funeral cortège progressed to Lutwyche cemetery. The coffins were placed side by side on four RAAF vehicles and covered with flowers and the Australian flag. RAAF servicemen acted as pallbearers for Jackson’s coffin, and her colleagues from the Townsville WAAAF base placed wreaths on each of the graves. Chief of the Air Staff Air Vice Marshal Jones attended the funeral, as did the wartime Minister for Air, Fred Drakeford, and the federal member for Griffith, Mr William Conelan.

Florence Jackson’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with around 40,000 Australians killed in the Second World War. Her photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Aircraftwoman Florence May Jackson, and all of those Australians – as well as our Allies and brothers in arms – who gave their lives in the hope for a better world.

Lucy Robertson

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