3 months ago

Son of paratrooper who died during D-Day honours dad with parachute jump on landings anniversary - aged 81

The elderly son of a paratrooper who died during D-Day has honoured his dad with a parachute jump - on the anniversary of the landings.

Malcolm Jackson, 81, leapt out of a plane above the Isle of Wight earlier today (6/6) - exactly 79 years after his dad parachuted into Normandy.

He wore dad Frederick Jackson's dog tags while his family watched on.

The late Mr Jackson - a lance corporal - died while fighting for control of Pegasus Bridge, near Caen. He was 29.

Malcolm, an ex-carpenter from Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight, said: "It was wonderful. The first 30 seconds you're in freefall, then after that the shoot opens.

"The view is brilliant - it's smoother than you think. People say they wouldn't do it, but I'd do it again. It could get addictive.

"It's been an excellent day."

Allied forces landed on the beaches of northern France on June 6, 1944 to try and reclaim occupied France.

LCprl Jackson was a part of the 7th Parachute Battalion, who were tasked with capturing bridges after arriving on Sword Beach.

The successful mission played an important role in limiting the effectiveness of a German counterattack after D-Day.

However, the Allies suffered 20 deaths - including that of LCprl Jackson.

It is thought he was shot by a sniper while escorting a group of Nazi prisoners of war.

Malcolm's daughter Michelle Walton, 52, says her dad has always wanted to do a parachute jump as a tribute.

She booked the experience through Skydive IOW, who operate out of Sandown airport.

Michelle, a photographer, said: "When I saw [there was] a jump on June 6 I immediately bought a ticket and called my dad to tell him.

"He was quite tearful. He's older and cannot do things so easily anymore, so the jump is a huge deal for him.

"My grandfather Frederick jumped out of an aircraft in the early hours of the morning on D-Day, landed, and fought until he was killed in action later that day.

"My dad did the jump in his honour, and wore Frederick's army beret and his dogtags - which last jumped out of a plane on D-Day.

"He also wanted to memorialise the bravery of the men who made the jump with him, because 79 years on so many people simply have no idea what it must have been like to do that.

"The jump really brought back part of his dad's experience back to life, it's something so special to him - a life-changing moment.

"Despite his age, he was so excited to do it. It's a really big deal for him - he had always wanted to do a jump."

Malcolm was watched by Michelle and his other children Abigail, Natasha and Steve.

His mum Iris Jackson died in 2015 aged 94, having never remarried and always being bitter at the loss of her beloved Frederick.

The soldier is now interred at Benouville Churchyard, 10 kilometres north-east of Caen, near to Pegasus Bridge.

Michelle added: "The landing made a huge difference to the D-Day landings, and were a vital part of winning the war.

"My grandad's service has been something that was always talked about in our childhood.
See more about

Browse more videos

Browse more videos