Sermon preached at St. john's, Tupton at the memorial service to col. h. h. Jackson, o.b.e., m.c., t.d., d.l.

On 23 March 1969.

A few moments ago we sang together Psalm 15, one of the most beautiful of all the Psalms in the Psalter. The Psalms were, of course, the hymn-book of the Jewish people and many of these Psalms were rather nationalistic and political in outlook. But this Psalm is a personal and practical one. And it has become known as the "Gentleman's Psalm" for it points out some of the qualities of a true gentleman - not only a Hebrew or Yiddish gentleman - but a Christian one as well.

David had captured Jerusalem and moved his capital there from Hebron. The ark of God, the symbol of God's presence, was given a place of honour and in this Psalm we find the sacredness of the holy city must be respected and honoured. If God establishes a dwelling in Jerusalem, the city to be in a special sense, His dwelling place, whoever lives there will be God's guest. What kind of man must he be who dwells in God's tent? Who can live there day by day? Psalm 15 is the answer! It sets out you remember eleven conditions:-

  1. He must walk uprightly.

  2. He must be a worker for righteousness.

  3. His heart must be true.

  4. He must not be a slanderer.

  5. He must do no ill to his friends.

  6. He mustn't speak evil of his neighbour.

  7. He must disapprove the vile.

  8. He must honour those who reverence God.

  9. He must keep a promise even if it be to his own loss.

  10. He must be generous without hope of gain.

  11. He must take no bribe against the guiltless.

These are of course all everday virtues. The duties are between man and man. The entire spirit of the Psalm is tat he who wishes to have God's approval must deal righteously with his brother. It is not that this is all that is required but these are the natural fruits of a heart that abides in God. And the message of this Psalm is as good in 1969 as when the poet first composed it.

And surely of all the words in the English language the words of the Psalm applied to him in whose memory we meet today. For Humphrey Jackson or "The Colonel" as we all lovingly called him was a real Christian gentleman and all the qualities mentioned in the Psalm were qualities he showed in his life.

Some of you here this afternoon had known Col. Jackson much longer than I. In 1956 I was asked to consider going as Vicar of Chapel-on-le-Firth but was asked that whilst in Derbyshire I might like to look at North Wingfield as a new Rector was needed there. For better or worse (for you and the parish) we chose North Wingfield. I was told a Col. Jackson would meet us at Chesterfield station and take us round. I had always been a bit frightened of Colonels and wondered what would happen when we met. From the very first encounter with the Colonel on Chesterfield station we felt we were with a friend, a cheerful friend, a sympathetic friend and a considerate friend. And from that bleak morning in December, 1956, to the Saturday of March 8th 1969, when the Colonel was so suddenly taken from us, my wife and I have had the happiest of associations with Colonel and Mrs. Jackson and family.

He often used to say that after buying a British Railway ham sandwich in the Restaurant Room of Chesterfield Station he thought we would never want to see Chesterfield again or perhaps we would never live to see it!

There is no need for me to dwell on the Colonel's military career, his long years of service for King and Country in two World Wars and his love for the Sherwood Foresters. His decorations are ample proof of his love for his country.

But the Colonel was more than a soldier. He was a man of integrity, honesty, sympathy and understanding - he was a true GENTLE-MAN. And the qualities of a true gentleman showed themselves in his home, his work, his Church, his sport and his leisure.

Over and over again one has heard that Clay Cross Company has a family atmosphere and there is no doubt the Colonel greatly helped this spirit by taking an interest in his work-people. In the past twelve years, not once but dozens of times I have been visiting the sick and the Colonel has either just called or was calling. And there are lots of people, in Tupton especially, who have known the great kindness he has shown then in times of sorrow and illness. I myself shall never forget his kindness to me when I was ill some years ago.

And his work for the community at large knew no bounds. One would have to go a long way to find anyone prepared to give up so much time, money and energy for the good of the community. His many years' service on the Bench where he dispensed justice with fairness: his great interest in the old Nursing Association, the Red Cross and St. John's, the British Legion, his great love of many kinds of sport, his great interest in shows and horticulture both locally and throughout the County brought him into contact with all sorts of people and they all felt the influence of his kind and cheerful nature. His wit, his repartee and his sense of fun were a real tonic.

This village of Tupton will never be able to measure all Col. Jackson has done for it. Since coming to live at Ankerbold he and Mrs. Jackson have brought their kindly nature to bear  on every aspect of Tupton's life. He served on Tupton's Council as a keen and zealous Councilor with the welfare of Tupton parish always at heart - more over than North Wingfield. And Tupton people knew that at Ankerbold they would always find a welcome in times of difficulty. You and I know well that the Colonel in his quiet and unobtrusive way has helped dozens and dozens of people in difficulty - financially and otherwise.

And St. John's are aware of his many kindnesses to the Church here. He was a most faithful worshipper and he always listened to sermons and was prepared to do battle afterwards if he hadn't agreed with the preacher. He's 'spiked' many a cannon of his acquaintance - especially if they themselves were 'spikes'. But he would speak his appreciation if he felt the sermon deserved it - "Good show", he would often say. His work as Treasurer at St. John's was always carried out efficiently and well and we were always grateful for his counsel and advise - except perhaps when it concerned the existence or otherwise of the organ in this Church.

Some people may think that people like Colonel Jackson belonged to a past age. And in some ways this is perhaps true. I remember on one occasion saying to the Colonel: "Well, that is an old, fusty Victorian outlook." Back came his reply. "Mister, my mother was a Victorian and I'm not having you insulting her. Although she was old, she wasn't fusty, prim or old-fashioned." We can call the Victorian age as much as we like, but it was at least an age when people had a sense of loyalty, a sense of helpfulness and a sense of honesty and integrity.

And these qualities Humphrey Jackson 'imbibed' from the later days of Victoria's reign and brought to bear on the Tupton, North Wingfield, Clay Cross and Derbyshire of this century. Would to God we had more men and women of the caliber of Colonel Jackson - the world would be a much better and happier place.

But so many of these qualities were nurtured in his home life. Ankerbold has always been a happy home and the Colonel was a devoted husband, father and greatfather. His death will leave a gap not only in the community and county but also in the life of Ankerbold where he had spent so many happy years. We do extend to Mrs. Jackson and all the family our deepest sympathy. But as Christians we also share with them the Resurrection hope. For as Christians we believe death is not the end but merely the gateway to a fuller life. As the family have said the note of triumph which pervaded the funereal service and which we are recapturing today, would have rejoiced the Colonel's heart. May the family and we be comforted in our loss by this message of hope - so beautifully set out for us in the last hymn we shall sing this afternoon.

On the front of your service sheet, at the bottom of the page, you will find three words - FORTITER, FIDELITER, FELICITER (3 F's).                                            

Those three words from the Jackson family motto:

FORTITER    :    bravely

FIDELITER    :    faithfully

FELICITER    :    joyfully or cheerfully

These three words, like the words of Psalm 15, fit 'the Colonel' so well. He lived bravely, he lived faithfully, he lived joyfully. We thank God for his life and character, we thank God we were privileged to know him. God used him as His servant among us. Let us all try our best to live like him: