Wellington R1646 - Glen Clunie

Profiles of the crew onboard

Sergeant Robert 'Bob' James Jackson, RCAF

'Bob' Jackson

Robert James Jackson was born on February 24th 1921 in Birchcliffe, Scarborough, Toronto, Canada, to Captain James Jackson and Ella 'Maud' Jackson (nee Young). Robert, known as Bob, was the youngest of three, having two older sisters, Winnifred and Helen. His father was born in Glasgow, Scotland and emigrated to Canada in 1902 where he met and married Maud Young.

Educated at Birchcliffe Public School 1926-1934, and Scarborough Bluffs High School 1934-1937, Bob was a member of the school football team, he was also a keen rugby and basketball player and enjoyed photography and shooting as hobbies.

On leaving school, Bob took a position as a Clerk with the grocery store Loblaws where he worked for three years. In January 1940 he joined the staff of the Royal Bank of Canada at the 1170 Yonge Street branch and was attached to Toronto, Queen and Close branch at the time of his enlistment to the Royal Canadian Air Force to train as a Pilot in December 1940.

Bobs training commenced at No.1 Manning Depot, Toronto on December 9th 1940. In January 1941 he attended No. 20 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) in Oshawa for four weeks followed by five weeks at No.1 Initial Training School (ITS) at the Eglinton Hunt Club in Toronto. In March Bob was at No. 7 EFTS, Windsor training on Fleet Finch aircraft. On May 17th Bob arrived at No.1 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) Camp Borden, and it was here on June 16th, flying a Yale, that he made his first solo flight. After Camp Borden, Bob spent a couple of weeks at No. 1 'Y' Depot, Halifax and was then posted to the RAF Trainees Pool.

Helen Garth. Bob Jackson's sweetheart
After initial training in Canada he was posted overseas for completion of his training. Not only did he leave his family behind in Canada, but he also left his sweetheart, Helen Garth (left). Bob and Helen met in Toronto when she was 18 years old, and they had been seeing each other on and off for three years before he joined the RCAF but had decided not to become engaged because of the war.

Bob arrived in England in September and was processed through No 3 Personnel Reception Centre (PRC) in Bournemouth where he received instructions to proceed to 20 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at Lossiemouth in Scotland where he would learn to fly Wellington bombers.

When the Wellington that Bob was onboard failed to return from a training flight on January 19th 1942 the Jackson family were initially informed that Bob was reported as 'missing believed to have lost his life'. The telegram bearing the dreadful news confirming his death and funeral arrangements was received by his mother, Ella, at her home in Birchcliffe on April 17th which was the date Bob's funeral took place in Dyce Old Churchyard near Aberdeen, Scotland at two o'clock in the afternoon.

Bob Jackson Maud Jackson visiting her sons grave at Dyce in 1949 Bob Jackson
Bob Jacksons grave in 1949
The old kirk at Dyce Churchyard
Grave of R J Jackson at Dyce
Commonwealth War Graves cross at Dyce Churchyard

My grateful thanks to the relatives of Robert J Jackson: families Dodson, Ryalen and Graham for assistance with informaton and images for this page. Thanks also to Floyd Williston in Canada.
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© Linzee Druce 2002-2012