News from 1928: Retirement of Capt Alex Jackson

Mark Baber

The Evening Post, Wellington, 26 October 1928
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site, t?a=p&p=home


Captain A. E. Jackson, of the White Star Line, is making his last voyage in
command of the liner Ionic, which leaves Wellington this evening for
England. On arrival at London Captain Jackson will retire after 30 years in
the service of the White Star Line. His first voyage to New Zealand was made
as fourth officer of the Gothic, in which he served for two and a half
years. After five years on the Delphic, Captain Jackson left New Zealand and
served on a number of White Star liners in other trades. In 1917 he was
appointed to the old Zealandic, and in June, 1924, transferred to command of
the Ionic. Last year Captain Jackson received an illuminated letter of
thanks from the Royal Humane Society for his services in respect to the
rescue of the crew of the French fishing schooner Daisy, which was found
leaking badly in the Atlantic.


Representatives of the commercial and shipping interests met on board the
Ionic yesterday at a luncheon given by the Shaw, Savill, and Albion Company
to bid farewell to Captain Jackson. Amongst those present were:-Mr. E. V.
Bevan, assistant manager of the New Zealand office of the Shaw, Savill, and
Albion Company, Sir Alexander Roberts, and Messrs. W. D. Stewart, J. G.
Duncan, R. H. Rothwell, S. A. Longuet, A. H. Miles, A. Thorne, G. C. Smith,
T. Woodcock, and F. D. Sladden.

Proposing the health of Captain Jackson, Mr. E. V. Bevan referred to his
honourable service with the White Star Line, and his long connection with
the New Zealand trade, and on behalf of the Shaw, Savill, and Albion
Company, and the shipping and mercantile community, wished him success and
long health.

In reply, Captain Jackson said he was retiring with great regret. He had
seen great changes in the New Zealand trade, which was continually growing,
and had necessitated a great increase in the size of the ships employed. It
had been a source of wonder to him how the Dominion managed to fill the
great ships which sailed at the rate of one or two a week all the year
round, carrying immense cargoes of frozen and other produce. That, he
thought, was the best testimony to the industry of the primary producers,
but, great as was production to-day, there was room for great expansion in
the future. The prospects for the Dominion were bright, and he would watch
its progress with great interest.


Mark Baber

MAB Note: On 4 December 1928, Ionic II arrived at London to conclude Capt.
Jackson's seagoing career.

The Western Mail, Perth, 29 November 1928
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,

A Lifetime at Sea
(By "Matelot")

After 45 years at sea Captain A. Jackson, a veteran skipper of the White
Star Line, is to retire when his present command, the Ionic, reaches
Southampton. For over 30 years has has served in various vessels of the
White Star Line and has visited Fremantle as master of the Zealandic and the
Suevic. He will not be entirely dissociated with the sea as he will practise
as a marine surveyor at Liverpool.

Boy and man his adventures at sea have been manifold. Equipped with a good
education, he entered sail in the early eighties as an apprentice and the
son of a mariner did not take long to pass the necessary examinations for
his junior officer's rank. Before he was 25 he had his master mariner's

He secured his first command in tragic circumstances. As a young man of 26
he was acting as chief officer of the barque Belle of Arvon and on passage
from Calcutta to Rio de Janeiro yellow fever broke out. The master, the
second mate and a dozen hands died, the ship's company being reduced from 28
to 15 souls. As the only deck officer not stricken Captain Jackson assumed
command and successfully navigated the barque to Rio. The strain was
terrific and he collapsed soon after the barque was berthed and had a long
battle in hospital against the fever.

That incident occurred in 1894 and the following year while still in the
Belle of Arvon Captain Jackson participated unwillingly in a South American
revolution. The barque was under sail for a Brazilian port when a Brazilian
warship in the hands of one faction opened fire on the forts which were held
by the opposing revolutionists. So long as the warship fired the gunlayers
were not careful at what they directed their aim and the Belle was raked
fore and aft with a shower of shrapnel. Fortunately there were no casualties
on the sailer.

In the following year Captain Jackson joined the White Star and he has been
engaged mainly in that line's Australian and New Zealand service. He served
as junior officer in many ships and besides commanding the Zealandic and
Suevic, he was master of the Bovic, Cufic and Arabic.

He saw active service in several of the White Star Line's vessels during the
war and had the distinction of being master of the Zealandic on the occasion
that vessel was transformed into a huge butcher's shop. Under charter to the
New Zealand Government, the Zealandic took a cargo of frozen meat to
Salonika. Cargo was discharged only at night, and it took six weeks to clear
the holds in that fashion, as the carcases were collected only when needed.

Five years ago Captain Jackson took charge of the Ionic. Last year, while
his command was bound for English, [sic] distress signals were sighted
flying from the French fishing schooner Daisy. The crew of 24 were safely
rescued and gunpowder was used to sink the craft, which was a menace to
shipping. For his services in that connection Captain Jackson received a
letter of thanks from the Royal Humane Society.