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Thomas Jackson b. 1884 was the son of Mathew Henry Jackson a gas fitter and wife Hannah they lived at 39 Todd Street, Bolton. He had an older sister Clara b. 1892 and a younger sister Lydia b.1890 who unfortunately died aged 1yr old.

By 1901 his mother Hannah was a widow aged only 41yrs, they now lived at 29 Orm Street, Thomas was 16yrs old and an apprentice house painter, his older sister was a cotton ring spinner in a local cotton mill.

In December of this year he also enlisted into the 5th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment of the Territorial Army, service number 27.

By 1911 Thomas aged 26yrs had been married for three years to Mary 24yrs, and they now had a 7 month old son named Tom, the family lived at 139 Lawn Street, Bolton. Thomas having served his apprenticeship had become a house painter by trade, but prior to the war had changed occupations and began to work in the local Crown brewery of Messrs Magee & Marshall Co in the town.

He was still a serving soldier in the 5th bn T.F. when war broke out in 1914, he went to France on 12th February 1915 and had returned home a year later on 31st March 1916 as a time expired soldier.

With the war still needing experienced soldiers, in July he re-joined the colours and in April 1917 was sent to serve in Egypt.

He was now with the 2nd Bn L.N.L. and on 3rd May 1917 boarded the troopship SS Transylvania at Marseille, France bound for Alexandria, the ship was relatively new having been built and launched in Scotland only three years earlier.

At 10.00 hrs 4th May 1917 the Transylvania filled with men was torpedoed twice by a German U-Boat in the Gulf of Genoa with the loss of over 400 souls.

Thomas Jackson was four hours in the water having survived clinging to a raft, he was eventually picked up by an Italian destroyer and his life was saved.
Jackson went on to serve in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force with the 2nd Battalion part of the 75th Division, in Sinai and Palestine.

On 10th December the Batt O/C was informed of a move from Alexandria towards Gaza to re-join the 75th Div there. The battalion of 25 officers and 694 men left Alexandria by train onward to Gaza on the 15th December 1917. Here the battalion was at once employed in clearing the month old battlefield, this work went on until 25th, were all kinds of warlike stores were retrieved.

As C.S.M. he was mentioned in despatches by General Allenby, his MiD appearing in the London Gazette of 14th June 1918, although there are no details of exactly how he attained this award.

With the new German offensive being prepared on the Western Front, the battalion was amongst others destined for that theatre in the next few months.
Leaving Port Said aboard the H.T. ‘Huntspill’ for France the battalion sailed to Marseille and arrived there on 26th May 1918 and four days later travelling by rail into the interior.

The battalion became part of the 34th Division and on 28th July of 1918 were at Grand Rozoy Railway Station in preparation for a combined attack on enemy positions.

At 04.30 hrs 29th July the battalion were in reserve with their object of the Grand Rozoy Ridge under Capt G.P.Atkinson but had in the stress of battle, found their way through the woods and seized the crest of Hill 189 by 07.40hrs.

After a day of fighting they were unable to press forward and retired to their starting positions. For his actions on 29th July 1918, C.S.M. Jackson was awarded the DCM appearing in the London Gazette of 30th October 1918 with the following citation:

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy counter attack. When all the officers of his company had been put out of action, he assumed command and held on to a forward position under heavy shell and machine gun fire until all Lewis gun ammunition was exhausted. He then withdrew the company and reorganized.”

He remained in France until he was demobilized on 21st January 1919, when he returned home to his wife and two children.

He was presented with his DCM by the Lord Mayor of Bolton, Lord Leverhulme at a reception at the Town Hall on Saturday 1st February 1919 where the biggest batch of medals were handed out and consisted of 5 Distinguished Conduct Medals and 11 Military Medals.

The full story entitled ‘Mayor Decorates Bolton Medalists’ appeared in the Bolton Journal and Guardian the following Friday 7th February 1919.

For his services during the conflict Jackson earned the Distinguished Conduct Medal, a 1914-1915 Star trio with mid oak leaf emblem and the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal.

Garry Farmer
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