Unknown sailor given comrade's farewell

FRANK Jackson was the unknown sailor but comrades in arms cared enough make a poignant presence at his funeral.The Royal Navy veteran, who died at Ipswich Hospital on New Year's Eve at the age of 78, was given full naval guard of honour at Ipswich Crematorium yesterday.

FRANK Jackson was the unknown sailor but comrades in arms cared enough make a poignant presence at his funeral.

The Royal Navy veteran, who died at Ipswich Hospital on New Year's Eve at the age of 78, was given full naval guard of honour at Ipswich Crematorium yesterday.

The coffin, draped in the flags of St George and the Union Jack, was carried through a guard of honour of around 20 representatives from the British Legion, the Royal Naval Association and the Veterans Agency who lined up to pay their respects to their fallen comrade.

They were joined by carers and other staff from the Howard Court Nursing Home where Mr Jackson had spent his last few months.


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As Mr. Jackson had no living relatives the arrangements were made by Joyce Fisk, the administrator of the nursing home.

She felt it was sad and unfitting to send off a serviceman so alone so she contacted the local Branch of the Royal Naval Association who were only to happy to give their support.

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Standard bearer Bill Marsh, 73, from Woodbridge said they were only too happy to give their support. "We always look after our own and anybody who had been in the Navy deserves a ceremonial service."

They even provided the padre, Rev. John Waller, who conducted the service with a Navy theme and ended with the Rod Stewart song We Are Sailing.

He said: "I am heartened and proud that in a world of technology and computers where people have become mere numbers that they still care enough to come and pay tribute. Thanks to you, the unknown sailor has now become the known sailor."

Mrs Fisk said: "I was touched by the kindness of all the people that turned up to pay their respects to someone they barely knew. I have already attended three funerals this year where I was alone and I just wanted to make something positive out of such a negative event. It shows that Suffolk people are caring.

"Jack was a real character and being more mobile than some of the other residents he used to go round and entertain them. He loved to wear hats both inside and out of the home and was particularly fond of his mauve trilby and velvet sash."

Mr Jackson joined the Navy aged 19 and after his training he joined his first ship in Boston, USA, in 1943. However he was discharged in 1944 after a car accident left him mentally ill. He spent most of his life in nursing homes and he was transferred to Ipswich last September from another a home in Sussex.

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