From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
John Jacques '41

Date of birth: June 1, 1917

Date of death: October 17, 1941

Age: 24

Naval Academy Register

John Allen Jacques was admitted to the Naval Academy with an At Large appointment on June 11, 1937 at age 20 years 0 months.

He voluntarily resigned on March 14, 1940.



John was killed in action on October 17, 1941 when the Vickers Wellington bomber he was aboard was shot down during a mission to Duisburg, Germany. He and his crew mates were members of the No. 40 Squadron RAF.

Other Information

John was born in the Panama Canal Zone and attended Balboa High School and Balboa Cristobal High. After resigning from the Naval Academy, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The pilot, Thomas Kirby-Green was the only survivor of the crash, but he was later executed by the Germans after taking part in the "Great Escape."

John is buried in Germany.


He was survived by his father, Mace M. Jacques; mother, Florence (Allen) Jacques; brother, Donald Jacques; and sister, Roberta "Bobby" (Gabel) Jacques. Two nephews also survived him; three nieces and two more nephews were born later. A brother-in-law, Ernie Gabel, was also killed during the war.

Corresponded with one of his nieces, Tish Thornberry, in August 2017. She provided this commemoration:

Uncle Allen – Your life’s journey from the Panama Canal Zone, where you were born, ended in a hostile Germany. Your decision to drop out of the United States Naval Academy and go to Tahiti to raise coconuts had far reaching consequences for you and our family. When you got to California, on your way to your new job in Tahiti, you were stymied by the change in government in France caused by the expanding war in Europe. You decided that the only way you could get on with your chosen profession was to get the war over with as soon as possible. Since your country was not currently involved, you went to Canada, as many Americans did, to offer your services in the RCAF. Your death preceded the United States’ entry into the World War by only 51 days. You also missed the births of a niece, Tish, to add to the existing nephews, Beau and Jim, in your sister’s Gabel family and the births of Allen, Ana and Mae in your brother’s family. Your brother-in-law, Ernie Gabel, would also die in that war. Both your parents would die in 1947 and your brother, Donald, and sister, Bobby, are also now gone. Unfortunately, none of them survived long enough to learn the full story of your death from a letter your pilot, the only one to survive the crash, wrote to his wife. Initially, you and your crewmates were buried in Kirchhellen with military honors and your graves were tended by the local citizens. Only after the war were all of you gathered here with other fallen members of the Commonwealth. Of all your survivors, only Jim has had the opportunity to visit this, your final, resting place. Rest in peace, knowing you are still remembered. (June 2011)

Class of 1941

John is one of 60 members of the Class of 1941 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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