In 1977 members of the 28th Māori Battalion undertook a pilgrimage back to the battlefields of the Second World War. The 600 strong party included whānau of soldiers and they visited the graves of their comrades, husbands, fathers, brothers across North Africa, Crete, Greece and Italy. Read more about the pilgrimage.
Major Bully Jackson is pictured here on the right at the headstone of Moana-nui-a-kiwa Ngārimu (VC) at Sfax Cemetery in Tunisia. Jackson and Ngārimu were both members of C Company. Jackson witnessed the actions for which Ngārimu was awarded the VC.
His statement was one of the many that supported the recommendation for the VC.
S.F. Jackson of 28 NZ (Maori) BN 2 NZEF on oath state:
attack of 26 Mar 43 on Point 209 began I was Pl Comd of the same coy that
2/Lieut M.Ngarimu belonged to. During
the actual assault on the hill feature of Point 209 our Coy Comd was wounded
and evacuated. I was then placed in
charge of the Coy. I established my Coy
HQ just in the rear of Mr Ngarimu's Pl.
I then went up forward to the crest where Mr Ngarimu and his men were
lying. I found that Mr Ngarimu had been
wounded in two places, a wound in the shoulder and one in the leg. I ordered him to go out to the RAP but he
insisted that he should stay until morning.
During my conversation with Mr Ngarimu the enemy made one of his many
counter-attacks. Mr Ngarimu immediately
stood to and engaged the enemy who were only a few yards away from him. After he had used his grenades I saw him pick
up some stones and he used the grenades.
At the same time he rushed up to the top of the hill firing his
tommy-gun at the enemy who could be clearly seen. When I rejoined him at the top of the hill he
pointed to some enemy dead lying around.
He was counter-attacked many times during the night but he was always
there to lead his men. I did not
actually see him killed the next morning but when we went to get him we found
him lying near four or five German dead right at the top of the hill.
Sgd. S.F JACKSON.
(Text from The Maori Battalion Remembers II, March 1986, p. 39)
Sydney (Bully) Jackson collection. Courtesy of Gary Jackson.