CWG: Stoker 1st Class Joseph Jackson

Stoker 1st Class Joseph Jackson

Joseph Charles Sackett Jackson was born in Rotherhithe, Surrey, on 4th May 1884, and was on of seven children. His father – post office worker Joseph Jackson Sr – died in 1895, leaving his mother, Eliza, to raise the family.

She soon married Matthew Newton, a widower himself, and the 1901 census found the couple living in Asylum Road, Peckham with eleven of their children and step-children. Joseph, who was 17 years old by this point, was one of only four of the household to be working, and was employed as a brass turner.

Keen to better himself, Joseph looked to a longer career and, in September 1901, he enlisted in the Royal Navy. His service records show that he was 5ft 3ins (1.6m) tall, had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.

Initially underage, he served on the home front, Joseph was based at the shore establishments around the country – HMS President (London), HMS Pembroke (Chatham Dockyard, Kent) and HMS Victory (Portsmouth, Hampshire). In 1906, when he turned 23, he formally enlisted in the Royal Navy, and was given the rank of Stoker 2nd Class.

Over the next year, Joseph served on three vessels – HMS Hawke, HMS Dido and HMS Pathfinder – and was promoted to Stoker 1st Class. He continued his work at sea, but returned to HMS Pembroke in between voyages.

In the summer of 1913, Stoker Jackson was assigned to the battleship HMS Dominion, and it was here that he spent the next four years. He was promoted again, this time to Leading Stoker. He returned to HMS Pembroke in August 1917, although he was again given the rank of Stoker 1st Class.

Chatham Dockyard was particularly busy that summer, and the large number of extra servicemen meant that Joseph was billeted in temporary accommodation in Chatham Drill Hall.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force bombarded the town, and scored a direct hit on the Drill Hall; Stoker 1st Class Jackson was among those killed instantly. He was 33 years old.

Joseph Charles Sackett Jackson was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.

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