NOTE: The dates offered above differ in some respects from the dates in my data base, but I have chosen to use the dates as supplied by Brian McDonald, husband of Juliet Euphrosyne Bowman-Vaughan (who is the daughter of Nancy Amelia Jackson). The text which follows was written by Brian McDonald. Any errors which may have arisen from transcription are mine and mine alone.
Thomas Rickard Eyre JACKSON, b. February 3, 1921, killed in action
in Italy (WWII) February 1944.
Mrs Juliet McDonald, Dtr of Nancy Amelia, and Grand dtr of Thomas Dare, has a Portrait, in Pastels, of Thomas Dare, by the renowned portrait artist, Charlotte Blakeney-Ward. 1898-1937. Measuring 25x30 inches.
Sir Thomas Dare Jackson’s Military Career.
Thomas Dare Jackson was born on 14th June 1876, The eldest son of Sir Thomas Jackson, first Baronet, and Amelia Lydia Jackson (nee Dare) and was educated at Cheltenham.
In those days, there were two ways of obtaining a commission in the Infantry: one method was for the young man to sit and pass the Army entrance examination, be accepted for the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and undergo an eighteen months course, satisfactory completion of which, led to a commission. Fathers of Gentlemen Cadets at the RMC had to pay fees. The other method was to obtain a commission in the Militia ( the equivalent of the modern TA), which was theoretically in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of the county, but in fact was subject to recommendation and interview; and then to apply for transfer to the Regular Army. A young militia officer had to prove that he knew the basics of soldiering, then discreet enquiries would be made as to whether he was “suitable” for regular service—which many were not.
Thomas chose the latter method and joined the King’s Own (Royal
Lancaster Regiment) from the Militia on 1st December 1897 as a Second
Lieutenant. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 16th August 1899.
After leave in the UK, Thomas was appointed Aid De Camp to the General
Officer Commanding Southern Army India (a Lieutenant General) from 22nd
June 1906 until 29th October 1908. As ADC to on army commander, Jackson
would have seen at first hand, how command at the higher levels is exercised,
and his progress was then recognised, on 30th September 1910, by his appointment
as Assistant Military Secretary to the Commander in Chief and Governor
On 26th August 1914, the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colnel Dykes,
was killed in action, and the battalion second-in-command, held temporary
command until Lieutenant Colonel Creagh Osbourne took over on 3rd October
1914. Thomas remained as OC D Company, in the thick of the action, until,
Creagh Osborne was relieved by Lieutenant Colonel Purvis, on 2nd July
1915. On the same day, Thomas went on, what was supposed to be, one month’s
leave to England. However the following day, Purvis was transferred to
take command of the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment and, Thomas was recalled
and appointed Commanding Officer of 1st King’s Own.
On the 18th Division front the artillery had done it’s job and
the German wire was cut. The German front line trenches were more lightly
held, than was the case elsewhere, and 55 Brigade were through them fairly
quickly, although there was stiff fighting from a stoutly defended group
of craters to the left of the Brigade’s area. Thomas now sent up
his two reserve battalions, and the brigade pressed on, fighting it’s
way into the German main position (Pommiers Trench) by 10.15hrs. and reaching
Mountauben Alley by 13.30hrs. 55 Brigade had had now taken all it’s
first day objectives, as had the rest of 18 Division. (one of only two
divisions to do so).
18 Division was now relieved, and on 11th July, 55 Brigade was sent off
to help 30 Division, which was stuck short of Trones Wood (Bois de Troncs).
The attack was a success, and by 22.00hrs on 28th September, the division had taken both the remains of Thiepval village and most of the Schwaben Redoubt. 55 Brigade was now ordered to relieve the other two brigades in the front line, which Thomas did with all four battalions forward plus a battilion (6th Royal Berkshires) from 53 Brigade, in reserve.
“Just now an interesting situation arises, for Maj Gen Maxse, Officer Commanding 18th Div. Gives order that the Buffs are to make a frontal attack on the system of trenches held by Jerry. This order our Brig Gen Jackson refuses to carry out under the plea that he had insufficient troops at his disposal and that it is impractical”
There appears to have been a further, later, refusal to attack, by Thomas, although he did (under pressure) organise a bombing raid, which led to a number of casualties.
Maxse now gave Thomas orders to “Capture the remains of the Schwaben Redoubt, and occupy the high ground to the north of it”. The Germans had lost Thiepval and most of the redoubt, but were to fight hard to prevent any further inroads. From 30th September to 5th October, there was scrappy, confused fighting in the area with considerable casualties to 55 Brigade. By the end of the operation, there had been some progress, but the British front line had hardly moved. Maxse blamed Thomas, and when the division was pulled out of the line on 5th October, Thomas was sacked.
In a rather spiteful report, Maxse wrote:-
“In my opinion the 55th Brigade was not handled with firmness, and the attacks were too partial. The situation should have been grasped more firmly by the brigade commander concerned, and he was so informed”
The dismissal, of Thomas, was deeply resented by his brigade. Private Cude wrote:-
“ Brig Gen Jackson is relieved of his command and returns to England. For what- being a human man. He will carry with him the well wishes of the whole Bde and we can never forget the man who would wreck his career rather than be a party- However unwilling- to the annihilation of troops under his command. What would the Bde like to do with Gen Maxse, the man with a breast full of decorations- not one of them earned. In place of our General we have another thing sent to us to take command. Words fail me to describe it, if it had a label around it’s neck and hung in a shop window one could say it was in it’s right place. It’s name is Brig Gen Price and whatever price was asked for it would have been dear.”
Private soldiers do not, of course, understand the whole picture. Cude is grossly unfair to Price, who was a brave and highly competent commanding officer of the 7th Bedfords, before being promoted, but his comments do show that Thomas had earned the respect and loyalty of the men in his brigade. (Cude went on to become a sergent and win the MM, so is a reasonably trustworthy source)
Maxse, although undoubtedly a magnificent trainer, and with a flair for tactics, was not always good with people. He was often overbearing, and a little too obviously ambitious. He rarely accepted the blame himself when things went wrong, but sought a scapegoat. Most officers, removed from command, were returned to England, and employed in training or a support capacity. That this did not happen to Thomas, is a measure of his determination to continue to give his all, and an indication that there was some sympathy for him in the higher echelons of the Army. He was appointed as commanding officer of the 11th Battalion the Manchester Regiment, in another division. While he had lost command of a brigade, and his “acting” rank of Brigadier General, he was still in an active post at the front.
In January 1917 Thomas went on one month’s leave to England, and on his return to the battalion, was sent to Montauban (the scene of his highly successful action on the first day of the Somme offensive the previous year), where it remained until May 1917. His Battalion was in support during the successful attack on Messines Ridge, in June 1917, before moving into brigade reserve.
Little stigma could have been attached to his sacking as brigade commander, by Maxse, as the London Gazzette of 1st January 1918 anounced the award of a bar to the DSO. (this now being a leadership award) to “Major and brevet Lieutenant Colonel Sir T D Jackson Bart. MVO DSO Royal Lancaster Regiment”
After discharge from hospital, Thomas spent the rest of the war in England, in command of a Graduated Battalion. (That is a “holding”battalion of men, too young to go overseas, and conscripts awaiting postings)
In November 1919 Thomas retired from the Army, he was only 43 and was granted the honorary rank of Brigadier General.
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