Louis Jackson, who died aged 87, won a Military Cross in Italy in 1945.

Capt L Jackson, MC
Capt L Jackson, MC

On January 4th 1945, Jackson was commanding a troop of tanks in The 4th Queen’s Own Hussars. At about 5 am he was ordered to assist an infantry post at a farm northwest of Ravenna which was being heavily attacked by three German companies.

Although under fire, he dismounted and directed his tanks into position. One of his tanks was then hit by a bazooka at close range. Jackson was standing in front of the tank, which had got bogged down in a gateway on the farm. While the force of the charge left the crew killed or badly wounded, Jackson merely had his hat blown off.

Having given orders to his remaining tanks, he went into the ruined farm complex. He steadied the hard-pressed infantry and organised their defences, but the Germans, using smoke and the cover afforded by the vineyards, surrounded the buildings.

At 7 am the ammunition ran out. Jackson called for more and then scrambled out of his tank, wrestled an automatic rifle from a German, jumped back into the tank and went on firing at the enemy.

During a lull in the fighting, he extricated two wounded men from the tank which had been knocked out. He later recalled the nightmare of injecting one of them in the arm with a painkiller – only to find that it had no effect because the limb was not properly attached to the body. One man died and the other was evacuated.

The attack was renewed an hour later, and after the Germans infiltrated the farmyard – where they were safe from small arms – high explosive was fired from as little as 50 yards. During the fierce fighting, which lasted for nearly five hours, Jackson quietly walked from one position to the next giving fire orders and directing operations.

His determination and gallantry frustrated the enemy and inflicted on them a costly defeat, 150 prisoners were taken and more than 200 killed or wounded.

Jackson was awarded an immediate MC and three members of his troop won Military Medals.

Louis Charles Jackson, the son of the late Brigadier CBS Jackson and the grandson of Major-General Sir Louis Jackson, was born in Karachi on 30 September 1922. He won a scholarship to Marlborough before going up to Exeter College, Oxford, where he was elected a scholar in Classics.

After passing out from Sandhurst in 1942, he was commissioned into the 4/7th Royal Dragoon guards and posted to the Middle East. Jackson joined 4th QOH in 1943 and served with the regiment in North Africa, Cyprus, Italy and Austria.

At the battle of Lake Comacchio, his troop carried Royal Marine Commandos in waterproofed Kangaroos (armoured personnel carriers) and gave covering fire with their Browning machine guns. They took 420 prisoners, many of them ex-Red Army Turkoman conscripts. In the last weeks of the Italian campaign, Jackson was wounded near Ferrara.

After the war, he returned to Oxford and switched to Philosophy, Politics and Economics. In an OUDS production of The Winter’s Tale, directed by Sir Alexander Korda, he played the part of the bear.

He then joined Gillanders Arbuthnot, East India merchants, and in 1958 went to Lahore and became manager of the firm’s business in Pakistan. In 1962, after a move to Calcutta, he became joint managing director of Gillanders.

Jackson retired in 1970 and left India. He became a lecturer in the Economics faculty of the Aberdeen College of Commerce. Finally retiring in 1988, he settled first in Sussex and then in Oxfordshire.

Louis Jackson died on October 10th 2009.

He was a regular and loyal supporter of the 4th Hussars Dining Club. He gave a very generous legacy to The 4th Queen’s Own Hussars Benevolent Fund and, in addition, the collection at his funeral was also donated to the Benevolent Fund.

He joined the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars Association in July 1990. The family tradition continues in The Queen’s Royal Hussars, as his grandson David is a serving officer in the Regiment.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Middle East (Egypt and Libya) timeline
  3. Italy 1943-5 timeline
  4. Gallantry Award: Citation and Immediate Award of The Military Cross – Lt LC Jackson, 4H