Archiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2005-07 > 1121078621

From: "Peter_McCrae" <>
Subject: Re: JACKSON; John Angelo 1/7/2005-UK
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 11:43:41 +0100

John Jackson
(Filed: 11/07/2005)
The Daily Telegraph & the

John Jackson, who died on July 1 aged 84, was a pivotal figure in the
development of mountain training in Britain, and a participant in the great
epoch of Himalayan expeditions in the decade following the Second World War.

Born at Burnley, Lancashire, on March 24 1921, John Angelo Jackson began
climbing with his elder brother Ron on the stern outcrops of millstone grit
in the Pennines. At Widdop, on the Bronte Moor, they were responsible for
the first ascents of many of the classic courses and traditional test-pieces
on the crag.

Ron - the more accomplished rock-gymnast of the two - led on most of these,
and it soon became obvious that John's bent was for wider horizons and
bigger mountains.

On the day that war was declared, John Jackson was with some friends
climbing on the gritstone crags at Widdop when he looked up and saw an
aircraft. He decided to volunteer for flying duties with the RAF, and became
a wireless operator/air gunner. In 1943 he was sent to Assam to join No 31
Squadron flying Dakota transport aircraft.

The lightly-armed Dakotas became the lifeline of the 14th Army, and Jackson
flew more than 500 hours in supply-dropping and Army support operations in
the Arakan and over the Chin Hills. These included sorties dropping supplies
during the siege of Kohima. He also flew the dangerous reinforcement route
over "the Hump" to Kunming in Nationalist China.

During his period with No 31, Jackson qualified for two weeks' "rest and
recuperation" leave. He wrote later: "With my passion for climbing, I
elected to go to Kashmir rather than the fleshpots of Calcutta."

After a further flying appointment at No 9 Ferry Unit at Allalabad, he was
posted to the RAF Aircrew Mountaineering Centre in Kashmir, working with the
great scholar-mountaineer Wilfrid Noyce, who remained a close friend until
Noyce's death in the Pamirs in 1962. The unit's task was to get aircrew
physically and mentally fit before and following operational flying tours.
The unit also prepared troops for the glider and parachute operations for
the planned assault on Singapore. Jackson eventually became the chief
instructor and a life of serious climbing opened up thereafter.

After the war Jackson trained initially as a pharmacist, but a gift for
communication, the lure of long holidays, and the opportunity to take pupils
into the hills soon decreed a switch to education. Once qualified, he took
up posts teaching science and geography, first at Nelson and then at Redcar,
where his pupils benefited greatly from his commitment to extra-curricular
outdoor activity.

Between 1951 and 1955 he was involved in numerous Himalayan expeditions. He
climbed some of the dramatic and exquisite peaks of Garwhal in 1951, and was
a member of the "Abominable Snowman" expedition to Sola Khumbu in 1954.

In the same year, he took part in the first-ever journey from Everest to
Kangchenjunga, in company with 11 Sherpas - a trek which confirmed his
affinity with, and affection for, the indigenous mountain peoples of the

Jackson was one of the reserve climbers, involved throughout the initial
training programme, for John Hunt's successful 1953 expedition to
Chomolungma (Mount Everest), and in 1955 he went on Charles Evans's bold and
exemplary reconnaissance trip to Kangchenjunga, the World's third-highest
peak, helping Joe Brown and George Band to make the first ascent of the most
difficult of the high Himalayan peaks climbed to that date. All this
activity was recorded in a volume of autobiography, More Than Mountains

In 1958 Jackson was appointed chief instructor at Plas y Brenin, the
National Centre for Mountain Activities run by the Central Council for
Physical Recreation at Capel Curig in Snowdonia. Two years later he became
its director, and attracted to his centre as voluntary and temporary
instructors many of the emerging names in rock-climbing and mountaineering
of his day.

They worked alongside a cadre of reliable professionals, and over the years
he established Plas y Brenin as an excellent centre for training and
certification in all outdoor activities. In the 1960s he built the first
dry-ski slope in Wales; he was instrumental in the publication of the
seminal Safety on Mountains booklet; and he even imported from Switzerland a
snow-making machine to countervail the mildness of the Welsh winters,
although this was not an unqualified success.

Jackson retired from Plas y Brenin in 1976, and travelled with his wife
overland to India and Nepal and back again by Ford Transit. He then began
yet another career, this time on the international lecture circuit, on which
his memorable accounts of places, peoples and experiences were in constant

He spent three years in the early 1980s setting up the Sports Council for
Wales's National Outdoor Centre at Plas Menai, near Bangor. But the lure of
travelling proved too strong, and, after routine surgical maintenance on
hip-joints worn out by long mountain service, he was away again - spending
the last part of his life organising and leading geographic, photographic,
mountaineering and skiing trips to the Alps, as well as treks to the
Himalayas, South America and the Galapagos Islands.

In 1996 he was in the Lamjung Himal; in 1998 at Everest Base Camp; in 2000
he organised a trek to Ladakh, which resulted in the ascent of the 20,200-ft
peak of Stok Kangri; and in 2002 - by now in his eighties - he was out once
again in the Kangchenjunga region and in Sikkim.

John Jackson was a warm, kind and engaging man, ruggedly built. direct of
gaze, firm of handshake. The modern world may not have been much to his
taste, but the simplicities of the mountain environments were like a
religion to him, and one which he preached with a simple fervour all his

He is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their two sons.

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005.

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