The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (22102) Flying Officer George Alexander Jacobson, No. 514 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2021.1.1.41
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 10 February 2021
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
Description

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 Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (22102) Flying Officer George Alexander Jacobson, No. 514 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

22102 Flying Officer George Alexander Jacobson, No. 514 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
KIA 23 April 1944

Today we remember and pay tribute to Flying Officer George Alexander Jacobson.

George Jacobson was born on 25 March 1917 in Gympie, Queensland, to Charles and Elizabeth Jacobson. He had four brothers: John, Frank, Alan, and Percy. The Jacobson family lived in Gunalda, and George attended the Ganulda State School and Gympie High School. He was a keen horseman and was fond of campdrafting, a sporting event in which the rider demonstrates mustering skills.

After leaving school Jacobson worked as a shop assistant and truck driver, and later as a mechanic. He joined the local Militia unit, serving for two years with the 47th Battalion, and nine months with the 9th/49th Battalion.

On the 5th of April 1940 Jacobson volunteered to join the Royal Australian Air Force. He undertook and passed several courses before embarking in September 1942 for Canada. There, as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who, throughout the course of the war, joined squadrons based in Britain.

Jacobson was granted a commission on the 19th of March 1943, and that June left Canada, arriving in England on the 1st of July. In September he became a flying officer, and spent some time in training before joining No. 514 Squadron, RAAF, in April 1944.

No. 514 Squadron flew Lancaster bombers, and Jacobson joined his crew as air bomber. Not long after he joined, on the 22nd of April, he and his crew were engaged in a bombing operation over Dusseldorf. The aircraft took off just after 11 pm, and was expected back around 3 am that night. At 2.56 am, however, the aircraft sent an SOS message from over the North Sea, off the coast of the Netherlands. It was the last that was heard of the crew.

At dawn, rescue aircraft went in search of the Lancaster and its crew, but found no sign of either. The bodies of two of airmen were later found washed up on the islands off the coast of Holland, but the remains of Flying Officer George Alexander and the four other members of his crew were never found.

The squadron leader wrote home to John Jacobson, giving details of the circumstances surrounding his brother’s disappearance, noting:
Your brother had not been with the squadron very long but he was fast becoming popular with all, and his crew had great confidence in him as their air bomber. His loss is regretted by all.

A commemorative scroll presented to Jacobson’s family honoured him “as one who served his King and Country in the World War of 1939–1945 and gave his life to save mankind from tyranny. May his sacrifice help to bring the peace and freedom for which he died.”

Jacobson’s brothers Frank and Alan served in the Second Australian Imperial Force, and survived the war.

Flying Officer George Alexander Jacobson is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, England, which lists more than 20,000 British and Commonwealth men and women who died while serving in the air forces between 1939 and 1945. His name is also on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with some 40,000 others from the Second World War.

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

Christina Zissis
Editor, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (22102) Flying Officer George Alexander Jacobson, No. 514 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War. (video)