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Sergeant Norman Jackson served as a flight engineer for the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War.
He was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for his brave actions during an attack on his Lancaster bomber, whilst on a mission in Germany.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Norman was working as a qualified fitter and volunteered for the RAF.
He served as ground crew in West Africa, before joining 106 Squadron as a flight engineer in July 1943. By April 1944 he had completed 30 bombing missions and was due to return home.
However, on 26 April 1944, Norman decided to join his regular crew on one last operation.
After bombing a factory in Schweinfurt, central Germany, Norman’s Lancaster bomber was attacked by a German night fighter. He was wounded and the bomber’s right wing caught fire, blazing dangerously close to the fuel tank.
Curator Tour: Life on the Lancaster
Join IWM’s Head of Second World War, John Delaney, as he tells the stories of the IWM’s Lancaster fuselage on display in the museum’s atrium. For the first time guests will have the exciting opportunity to view accompanying items from the museum’s archive as part of this exclusive tour experience.
As the flight engineer, and the most experienced man onboard, Norman felt it was his job to tackle the fire.
He strapped on a parachute, grabbed a fire extinguisher and climbed out onto the wing, 6,000 metres above the ground.
Battling against fierce winds, Norman used a fire extinguisher to tackle the fire and managed to get it under control.
The German night fighter then launched another attack, hitting Norman in the legs. He fell from the wing, plummeting towards earth with his parachute burning.
He survived the fall, but was badly injured and soon captured by Germans on the ground. Four other members of the bomber crew survived but two were lost.
Norman spent ten months in a German hospital with a broken ankle and a badly burned eye and hands. He never fully recovered.
When he returned home he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Become a Documentary Filmmaker
Which stories within IWM's collection deserve more attention? Join documentary filmmakers from SMASH TV, who will teach you how to make and feature in your own mini-documentary, ready for you to download and take home.