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  • Battle of May Island Group to Captain Jackson K-17
  • Battle of May Island Group to Captain Jackson K-17
  • Battle of May Island Group to Captain Jackson K-17
  • Battle of May Island Group to Captain Jackson K-17

Item: GB1039

Battle of May Island Group to Captain Jackson K-17


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Battle of May Island Group to Captain Jackson K-17

Order of the British Empire, Commander; 1914-15 Star (S. LT. G.E.A. JACKSON. R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (LIEUT. G.E.A. JACKSON. R.N.); Defence Medal; War Medal 1939-45; Jubilee Medal 1935; and Coronation Medal 1937. Naming is officially impressed on the three WWI medals. Board mounted group of seven (CBE unmounted), very crisp detail, beautiful patinas, extremely fine. Also included is a duotang folder with his military biography, copies of his service records, citation of his CBE in London Gazette of June 1949, K7 Memorial List (48 submariners who perished) and thirteen ship photographs. Footnote: Gerald Edward Armitage Jackson was born on April 28, 1896, son of Major Edward A. Jackson of the 3rd Suffolk Regiment. He began his naval career with the H.M.S. Monarch, as a Midshipman on September 15, 1913. He started the war on the Monarch, which was part of the 2nd Battleship Squadron. He later achieved the ranks of Acting Sub. Lieutenant (September 15, 1915), Sub Lieutenant (April 15, 1916) and Lieutenant (July 15, 1917). In 1917, he volunteered for submarine duty, with his first sub being the K-17, an experimental class, driven by steam turbines on the surface. This gave them a higher speed and the capability to operate with the Grand Fleet. He joined the K-17 on January 23, 1918. Eight days later, on January 31, while on manouevres with the fleet, the K-17 was rammed and sunk by the destroyer H.M.S. Fearless, in what has come to be known as The Battle of May Island. Although all fifty-six members of the K-17 managed to abandon ship safely, only eight men survived, Jackson being one of them. Athough posted to two other submarine depot ships (H.M.S. Bonaventure and Alecto), there is no record that Jackson served on any other submarine. He then volunteered to go back to General Service and was posted to the shore base H.M.S. Ganges and then to H.M.S. Gadfly, a small coastal destroyer in which he served out the war. In personal life, he married Beryl Montague Harston on April 7, 1926 in Kensington. Jackson took several courses in Torpedoes and Electrical and served on numerous light cruisers (H.M.S. Ceres, Enterprise, Colombo, Calypso, Capetown, Dragon), several of which he was Second in Command. He achieved the ranks of Lieutenant Commander "T" (July 15, 1925) and Commander (June 30, 1931) between the wars. At the beginning of World War II, Jackson was performing instructional duties in the torpedo school at H.M.S. Defiance. He then went on command the torpedo school at Eastbourne, with the rank of Captain (June 15, 1942). He was age retired on January 25, 1946 but was recalled to duty on February 4, 1947 and appointed to command the new entry base at H.M.S. Collingwood. He was invested with the Order of the British Empire, Commander, at Buckingham Palace, on July 12, 1949. After four years, he was deemed "Medically Unfit" and was retired for the final time. Jackson passed away in 1956 at the age of 60. Additional Footnote: The Battle of May Island is the name given to the series of accidents that occurred during Operation E.C.1 in 1918. Named after the Isle of May, an island in the Firth of Forth, close by, it was a disastrous series of accidents amongst Royal Navy ships on their way from Rosyth in Scotland to fleet exercises in the North Sea. On the misty night of January 31 to February 1, 1918, five collisions occurred, involving eight different vessels. Two submarines were lost and three other submarines and a light cruiser were damaged. 270 men died, all of them Royal Navy. Although it took place during the First World War, it was an entirely accidental tragedy and no enemy forces were present. It was therefore, not a 'Battle' and was only referred to as such with black humour. The subsequent investigation and court martial were kept quiet, with much of the information not released until the 1990s. (BGR273)
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