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The Pilots MemorialPrint Page Print this page

20-June-2015 (Judith Nissen)
20-June-2015 (Judith Nissen)

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / Judith Nissen / Fred Brunings

A monument commemorates Squadron Leader John Francis Jackson DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) and Warrant Officer Leonard Victor Waters, who was the only known aboriginal pilot to serve in World War Two.

John Francis Jackson was born in Brisbane in 1908 and came to the St. George District at the age of nineteen to manage "Macwood", a grazing property acquired by his father. Later he acquired a Stock and Station Agency in the town.

Leonard Victor Waters was born at Euraba Mission near Boomi on June 20, 1924. He later moved to "Old Toomelah" with his family and then again to Nindigully (Queensland). At the age of 13 Leonard left school to work as a ring barker and shearer to help his family of eleven get through the Depression. When World War Two broke out, he felt his destiny lay with the Airforce and joined the RAAF.

Location

Address:St Georges Terrace, Apex Park, St George, 4487
State:QLD
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -28.036678
Long: 148.576511
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Sub-Theme:WW2
Actual Event STart Date:03-September-1939
Actual Event End Date:15-August-1945

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 8th March, 2003
Front Inscription

The Pilots Memorial

Officially Dedicated on 8th March 2003 by the Hon. Bruce Scott M.P

Federal Member for Maranoa and Minister for Veteran Affairs 1996 - 2001





 

Left Side Inscription
In memory of  SQUADRON LEADER JOHN FRANCIS JACKSON DFC
1908  - 1942

John Francis Jackson was born in Brisbane in 1908 and came to the St. George District at the age of nineteen to manage "Macwood", a grazing property acquired by his father. Later he acquired a Stock and Station Agency in the town, learned to fly and bought an aeroplane to use in the business. 

He joined the RAAF at the outbreak of War in 1939 and served in the Middle East as a Fighter Pilot with 3 Squadron which at the time was equipped with Gloster Gladiator biplanes opposing the Italian Airforce. In March 1942 he was given command of 75 Squadron, which had been hastily been formed in Townsville, equipped with Kittyhawk aircraft, manned mostly by pilots with no combat experience and sent to defend Port Moresby against the Japanese invasion. 

After being shot down in the sea near Lae he managed to swim to shore and walk to safety with the aid of natives. He later led a flight of five Kittyhawks to intercept a superior force of bombers and fighters and was killed in action on April 28, 1942, leaving a wife and two children.

John was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his work in the Middle East and in honour of the valiant defence of Port Moresby by he and 75 Squadron, the airport at Port Moresby was renamed Jackson Field. It is now known as Jackson Airport and John Jackson is probably the only Australian who has an International Airport, in another country, named in his honour. 
"Lest we Forget" 
Right Side Inscription
In memory of WARRANT OFFICER LEONARD VICTOR WATERS
1924 - 1993


Leonard Victor Waters was born at Euraba Mission near Boomi on June 20, 1924. He later moved to 'Old Toomelah' with his family and then again to Nindigully (QLD). At the age of 13 Leonard left school to work as a ringbarker and shearer to help his family of 11 get through the Depression. 

When World War II broke out, he felt his destiny lay with the Airforce and joined the RAAF one day before the Battle of the Coral Sea on August 24, 1942. Upon joining he worked as ground staff then trained as a flight mechanic and was able to strip and reassemble Kittyhawk Fighter engines. Later a shortage of pilots required the RAAF to call for more airmen. 

In December 1943, volunteered for aircrew, was selected and commenced training in Victoria. He studied with 148 other students (48 were accepted as pilots ... Leonard came 4th overall). 

Flight Sergeant Leonard Waters was posted to 78th Fighter Squadron at Noemffer Island, Western New Guinea, in November 1944. He was the only Aboriginal pilot to fly in World War II. Leonard flew a Kittyhawk Fighter with 'Black Magic' painted on the nose of the plane. 

After the war he retired to shearing and the task of raising a large family at Cunnamulla, St. George and Brisbane. Leonard Victor Waters died at Cunnamulla on August 24, 1993 aged 69. he was buried with full military honours at St. George, Queensland.
'Lest we Forget'
Source: MA,SKP,QWMR
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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