Calgary WW II pilot to be reunited with lost medals

The Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alta. has tracked down the missing treasures of a 95-year old Royal Canadian Air Force pilot.

Bomber Command Museum of Canada tracked down missing treasures for 95-year-old veteran

From 1943 to 1944, Henry 'Hank' Jackson was the rear gunner for a WW II crew that completed 31 missions in Europe on a Halifax bomber. (Bomber Command Museum of Canada )

A former Calgary police officer and Second World War pilot will soon be reunited with his lost war medals.

Hank Jackson was awarded six decorations — including the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross for excellence in combat — for successfully completing 31 missions in Europe between 1943 and 1944.

"No one, no bomber crews were finishing 31 missions at that time. They were all getting shot down," said Karl Kjarsgaard, director of the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alta.

"So for that crew to have survived … that's like saying they went to heck and back three times."

Hank Jackson's lost decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross (far left), which was awarded to Royal Canadian Air Force pilots for excellence in combat. (Bomber Command Museum of Canada)

'A big part of his life was missing'

The veteran lost track of his cross and several other decorations 12 years ago, when a do-gooder relative in Saskatchewan offered to mount them for him.

"She died of cancer and after clearing her estate, the medals went missing," said Kjarsgaard, who learned about the missing items while interviewing Jackson for the museum.

"A big part of his life was missing."

A 95-year-old Calgary veteran will have his lost Second World War medals returned to him this weekend at the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, Alta. Museum director Karl Kjarsgaard joins us to tell us the story.

The 95-year-old had given up on finding them, so Kjarsgaard offered to track them down.

"We had to go through the son-in-law, the grandsons, and the cousins, and we finally found out where they were," Kjarsgaard told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.

One of Jackson's relatives in Manitoba had them in storage and didn't even realize it.

Halifax Bomber recovery mission

The medals have been polished and will be returned to their rightful owner on Sept. 17 during a ceremony at the museum saluting the 75th anniversary of the Halifax bomber.

Kjarsgaard will also do a talk about the crew Jackson flew with during the Second World War and the museum's ongoing fundraiser to recover the airframe and engine of a Halifax bomber discovered off the coast of Sweden.

Karl Kjarsgaard (left) helped WW II veteran Hank Jackson (right) track down his lost war medals. (Bomber Command Museum of Canada)

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener