Cyril Jackson was born in Staffordshire in 1913. He enlisted into the Royal Army Medical Corps aged 18 years old, in 1931. When his service had ended in 1938, he had qualified as a SRN (State Registered Nurse).
With the Second World War looming, Cyril was called up as a Class B reservist in June 1939, and subsequently posted to 14th Field Ambulance. It was with this unit that he went to France soon after war was declared in September 1939. Surviving Dunkirk he continued to serve with 14th Field Ambulance both in the UK and the Middle East, where they were sent in 1941.
In 1943 however, Cyril answered an appeal for volunteers and put himself forward for the Airborne medical services. He went through Ramat David in Palestine, where he received his wings. He was then posted as one of the Battalion medics to 156 Parachute Battalion, under the watchful eye of the RMO Captain John Buck. He served with the unit when it deployed to Italy in September 1943, before the Battalion was withdrawn to the UK in preparation for the invasion of North West Europe.
Finally, in September 1944, 1st Airborne Division took part in Op Market Garden, bound for Arnhen. Cyril flew to Holland on 18 September 1944 during the Second Lift to staff the Regimental Aid Post (RAP) in HQ Coy. During his descent to Ginkel Heath he was slightly wounded by shrapnel in the back of his right hand, but shrugged the wound off and carried on. The 156th Battalion had a trying day on 19 September. By the afternoon after their ’Battle in the Woods’, they were located in and around the village of Wolfheze.
Cyril was located in the Stationmaster’s house by the railway line, and was taken prisoner together with John Buck and the Battalion Padre, Reverend A Menzies. Together with other prisoners he eventualy found himself at a hospital in Utrecht. John Buck later reported that Cyril donated blood which saved the life of a seriously wounded 156 Battalion officer, Cpt Montgomery. After a few days at Utrecht, Cyril was moved to Prisoner of War camp in Germany, where he remained until liberated in May 1945.
Demobbed in November 1945, Cyril resumed his civilian career. He died in March 1988.
With assistance from Niall CherryRead More