Private John Alexander Jackson was the son of John and Violet Jackson of Ashted, Warwickshire. He served with 2nd Parachute Battalion in the North African campaign, during Op Torch in Tunisia.
In March 1943 the 2nd Battalion were transported to the Tamera Valley having cleared a couple of prominent landmarks in the Beja sector. They were instructed to take over a hill feature with steep sides and covered in cork oak woods at Sidi Mohammed el Kassim from the Lincolns. Unsurprisingly this home became known to the men as ‘Cork Wood’. The subsequent engagement at Cork Wood also became known as the Battle of Tamera.
Conditions at Cork Wood were often extremely uncomfortable and hostile. The trees restricted visibility on some parts of the hill and also added to the hazards from shelling and strafing. The cover enabled the enemy in certain places to arrive undetected within 20 yards of the battalion frontline positions and to infiltrate in between the defences. During their occupation of the hill, rain filled their trenches and the wet weather meant clothing, boots and blankets were soaked and covered in sticky red mud. As a result the men were frequently wet and cold. The mud and slush often made movement up and down the slopes difficult. While occupying these defensive positions the battalion was subject to an onslaught of shelling, mortaring and strafing by enemy aircraft.
On the 8th March an enemy force of divisional strength comprising four regiments attacked the defensive positions of the 1st and 2nd Battalions. Private Jackson was killed during this attack on 8 March 1943, aged 19 years old. He is now buried at Tabarka War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Maj Gen John Frost, A Drop Too Many, (2002), Pen & Sword.
Compiled for ParaData by Harvey GrenvilleRead More