A VINTAGE bus transported crowds of people to celebrate the life of a remarkable war veteran in Pontefract last week.
Fred Jackson, a decorated Royal Navy officer involved in World War Two’s Normandy landings, was remembered by dozens of friends and family from across the world at a special thanksgiving service at St Joseph’s Catholic Church on Friday.
Veterans from the Landing Craft Association wore full parade uniform to the commemoration, organised after Mr Jackson died in Chequerfield’s Monument House care home in December, aged 85.
His daughter, Dominique Jackson, said: “This celebration came about partly because my dad was a bit of a party animal and as he wanted it as his final wish.
“He was a very generous man and we had 400 people to our house every Boxing Day when I was growing up.
“On Friday the Landing Craft Association brought their National Standard flag to sit on the altar and commemorate dad, as well as all deceased veterans, as we approach the 65th anniversary of D-Day.
“All his generation is dying out now and I do think younger people don’t always recognise what they did for us.”
Mr Jackson was born in Askern and accompanied Canadian tanks to Juno Beach as a Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Lieutenant in the Normandy Landings of 1944.
He then joined the fire brigade, moving to Hong Kong in 1956 where he was awarded the Governor of Hong Kong’s Lanyard, for outstanding gallantry during the country’s violent communist riots in 1967.
The dad of two was awarded the Imperial Service Order by the Queen for his service to the British Empire in 1982.
He retired to Pontefract three years later.
Ms Jackson added: “He wouldn’t have lived anywhere but Pontefract, where my mother was from, even though we expected him to retire abroad.
“When he lived in Hong Kong he spoke Cantonese but was still well known for his Yorkshire accent.
“On Friday there was a massive turnout and we travelled to the service in the vintage bus from Pontefract Masonic Hall because my parents first met when mum was a conductor on a Pontefract bus route – they also married in St Joseph’s.
“It was wonderful to celebrate his life and achievements.”