Limited Edition Print signed by Warrant Officer Norman Jackson VC
We have been fortunate to purchase four limited edition prints which we are listing today, all published by ‘Legends’(UK) in 1989. Each is signed in pencil by the artist J.G.Keek and the subject in this case Warrant Officer Norman Jackson V.C. Norman Cyril Jackson was born on 8 April 1919 and died on 26 March 1994. In July 1943 he joined No. 106 Squadron as a Flight Engineer serving on Avro Lancaster bombers. Jackson completed his tour of 30 Ops on 24 April 1944, but, as he had flown one sortie with a different crew, he chose to fly once more so that he and his original aircrew could finish their tour together. Jackson's 31st Op was a raid on the German ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt on the night of 26–27 April. Having bombed the target, Jackson's Lancaster serial ME669 was attacked by a German night fighter and a fuel tank in the starboard wing caught fire. Jackson, already wounded from shell splinters, strapped on a parachute and equipped himself with a fire extinguisher before climbing out of the aircraft and onto the wing, whilst the aeroplane was flying at 140 miles per hour (230 km/h), in order to put out the fire. He gripped the air intake on the leading edge of the wing with one hand, and fought the fire with the other. The flames seared his hands, face and clothes. The fighter returned and hit the bomber with a burst of gunfire that sent two bullets into his legs and in the action he was swept off the wing. Meanwhile the fire burned out of control and the Pilot gave the order to abandon aircraft. Four of the remaining members of the crew landed safely but the captain and rear gunner have not been accounted for. Meanwhile Jackson fell 20, 000 feet (6, 100 m), but his smouldering and holed parachute worked to save his life and also to give him membership of the elusive ‘Caterpillar Club’! He suffered further injuries upon landing, including a broken ankle, but managed to crawl to a nearby German village where he was captured. He spent 10 months recovering in hospital before being transferred to the Stalag IX-C prisoner of war camp from where he made two escape attempts, the second of which was successful as he made contact with a unit of the US Third Army. Jackson's exploit became known when the surviving crewmen of his bomber were released from German captivity at the end of the war. He was promoted to warrant officer and his Victoria Cross award was gazetted on 26 October 1945. When he went to Buckingham Palace to receive his VC from King George VI, he was accompanied by Leonard Cheshire who was also due to receive his on that day. Group Captain Cheshire insisted that, despite the difference in rank, they should approach the King together. Jackson remembers that Cheshire said to the King, "This chap stuck his neck out more than I did - he should get his VC first"! Of course the King had to keep to protocol but Jackson stated he would never forget what Cheshire said. Post war Norman Jackson worked in sales for Haig Whisky. In 2004 his VC was sold at auction by his family and was bought by Lord Ashcroft for £235, 250 against a pre-auction estimate of £130, 000 and is now on display at the Imperial War Museum, London. Our print is signed by the artist and Norman Jackson and is numbered 67 of a limited edition of 1000. This print (and the others we have purchased) came sealed in acetate and we have left them as such to protect them. So the actual image quality is better than that shown in our listing. In addition to the pencil image of Jackson the print also carries the 106 Squadron crest top right with the motto below ‘Pro Libertine’ meaning ‘For Freedom’. This print is a large size at 24” x 16” (60 cm x 40 cm) and would benefit from being framed and glazed. The print is not faded and the original Norman Jackson pencil signature is strong. This is the last of the four fine prints we have listed today, items that can never be repeated, so grab the opportunity to own one whilst you can!