Today we have a Veteran's Day tribute to one of Hood River's heroes. It was prepared by one of our museum volunteers:
Stuart Wheeler Jakku, a graduate of Odell High School, was a bombardier and Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force. Jakku faced hard times in battle. On one mission the bomber plane he was flying in was hit off the coast of Iceland. He and three other members of a ten man crew were able to evacuate the aircraft before it sank in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Jakku and the remaining crew swam for several hours until a fishing boat rescued them from the chilly waters.
In August 1944 the Hood River News reported that he married Vera Morris, “an English girl of fine family." Just a few months later, in October 1944, Jakku was killed while on a bombing mission in Nazi territory. His plane was struck down over Swedish airspace while attempting to return to base.
-JL[Ed. Note: This post was originally accompanied by a photo of Charles Robert (Bob) Duckwall. Mr. Jakku's family has provided this photo to properly honor his memory. I'll put Mr. Duckwall's photo in another post when I have a biography to accompany it. Also, I corrected this post to indicate his position as bombardier, not pilot. Sorry for the confusion.]
Stuart Wheeler Jakku was the son of Hood Riverites Armas Theodore Edmund and Alice Dougal (Clark) Jakku.
He was a member of the 457th BG, on a bombing mission to bomb a synthetic oil facility in German held Sweden. The plane, 42-102905 was hit and forced to make a landing at a small airport in Jonkoping, Sweden. The pilot, Allen Fisher, made a very skilled landing, considering the plane was shot up, with one dead on board and another critically wounded.
Jakku was the wounded man and died a day or so later in a hospital in Jonkoping. No doubt he was buried in that area, but his remains were returned to his family in Hood River in 1948.
The remainder of his crew were interred by the German forces until their release.
We honor and salute all service men and women on this day.
Charlott on 11th November 2011 @ 7:31am
Thank you so much for your tribute to a Veteran.
I wish it had a happier ending.
With that last name, I am going to assume Stuart was Finnish.
Charlott will probably let us know.
l.e. on 11th November 2011 @ 7:33am
Ahhh, I see Charlott was ahead of me by two minutes.
l.e. on 11th November 2011 @ 8:43am
Having a son-in-law currently serving in Afghanistan gives me a whole new perception of what it means to serve our country. Not only was Jakku serving his country in the U.S. Military - paying the ultimate price - but he was a son and a husband. May we never forget to honor these men and women!!
Connie on 11th November 2011 @ 9:50am
Definitely he was Finnish, one of many who served their country during war time.
The clothing that he is wearing was what might be called "winter camaflage." White that would allow a soldier to blend in right with the snow. This was used by many of the troops that served in mountainous areas by mountain troops, who were expert skiers, capable of swooping down mountain sides in pursuit of the enemy. Hood River had at least of couple of WWII soldiers who fell into this catagory that I know of. Even their boots were white ski boots.
Charlott on 11th November 2011 @ 1:20pm
I live in Jönköping were '905', the plane wich Jakku was on landed. Just wanted to state that the first post i slightly wrong Allen Fischer was the pilot on another B-17G that landed just after. Jakku was on B-17G #42-102905 from the 457th BG 748th SQ. Pilot on that plane was Clarence Jennings and Richard Garland.
Im also not sure if this really is a picture of Jakku. I have another picture of him and it doesnt look like the same person.
Daniel Petterzon on 16th April 2012 @ 1:54am
Mr. Petterzon is correct. This is not a picture of Stuart Jakku. It is, in fact, a picture of Charles Robert (Bob) Duckwall. We think this picture may have been taken near Camp Hale in Colorado where Bob did part of his military training before being sent to Italy. Bob was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army 86th Mountain Infantry, Company I of the 10th Mountain Division Ski Troops.
Camp Hale was established in 1942 in west-central Colorado to provide winter and mountain warfare training during WWII.
Bob’s parents were John Charles Duckwall and Minnie Paasch Duckwall of Hood River, Oregon.
Sally Duckwall on 2nd July 2012 @ 9:26pm
Just got a call about this photo. This photo is of Bob Duckwall (according to his daughter). I think the volunteer who wrote this entry was using a different picture of Stewart Jakku. It's the one where he is posing in his uniform against a white background. Photo ID 2006.426.001
Casey on 3rd July 2012 @ 9:17am
Casey on 3rd July 2012 @ 9:18am
Thanks to everyone for the corrections. I will need to go back to the archive and hopefully find the correct picture to go with this post. I'm sorry for the error. Much of the information in the museum database is based on recollections recorded many years later, so the information is not always 100% reliable. It's extremely valuable to have all of your eyes and memories checking this information so we can improve the quality of the database.
Arthur on 6th July 2012 @ 7:55am
I also have numerous photos of Stuart Jakku because he was my uncle. Let me know if you need a photo . I would be glad to share.I also have a photo of his wedding to Vera in England.
Karen on 13th July 2012 @ 9:05am
I have corrected this post by replacing Mr. Duckwall's image with Mr. Jakku's. Thanks to the family for providing this portrait. I hope to repost Mr. Duckwall's image when I have a proper biography.
Arthur on 17th August 2012 @ 6:39pm
I'd like to make one correction in Charlotts comment from 11 November, 2011. Mr Jarkkus plane was hit during a bombing mission to Poland. The synthetic oil facility they were supposed to bomb was located in Politz, Poland. Sweden was never held or occupied by Germany.
Annica Gramman on 2nd September 2012 @ 12:03pm
My brother, Harry N Kyall, was killed in the accident in March 1944 relating to the bomber plane being hit and four of the crew members being rescued by a fishing boat in Iceland. I am currently searching for more information surrounding the accident. If you have any details or any additional information, please let me know. This is something I have been looking for for a long time. My mother received a letter from Mrs. A. E. Jakku dated 05/03/1944 on personalized letter head and from the other crew members that survived, but so many details were stil being censored at that time, that no one was really able to provide us any details in their letters. Any information you can provide would be much appreciated.
Callie on 1st June 2013 @ 1:31pm
Are any of the Jakku's relatives still alive? I just received a picture of a crew with their B 17 bomber and I believe he is in the picture. My grandfather, Rolland "Bud" Boyle is also in the picture. I would love to send the picture to any surviving family of Stuart. He flew with this team about 6 to 7 times and then I believe joined a different team. I would also like to be placed in contact with Arthur the Uncle of Stuart listed above if that is possible. He commented on this story July 6th 2012. Thank you!
Rickie Turley on 27th May 2015 @ 8:23pm
Stuart was my uncle. His sister Rosalie, my mother, is still alive.
Arthur is not related to Stuart. This photo hung in my grandparents living room, Stuart's father and step mother. I would love to see any other photos that you might have and share them with my mother. Thank you!
Karen on 29th May 2015 @ 3:27pm
I came across my grandmothers daily journals from 1939-1944. She and Stu (Stuart) dated from April 5, 1939- Sometime after February 12, 1944. She mentions Stu daily, how they started to date, college, how they wrote to each other, when she stayed at the Jakku place, and his flights later when she visited him in February of 1944. They were engaged to be married, but the last journal entry was his birthday- Feb 12, 1944. She did not write after that day... So the rest is a mystery. It seems they must have broken up right after his birthday, since he went on to marry Vera Morris and then died after the crash. There is one more entry regarding her meeting up with an old co pilot of Stu's and he told her "all about Stu, and the crash, etc."... Does your mother remember Elizabeth (Betty) Fuller? We would love to know what happened to their relationship. I would be happy to send you copies of the journal entries - she really loved Stu throughout their time together.
Samantha (Fuller) Wilder on 23rd August 2016 @ 12:03am
Sorry April 1940-1944... Not '39
Samantha (Fuller) Wilder on 23rd August 2016 @ 12:09am
Jakku wasnt a bomber pilot as mentioned in the description to the photo. He was a Bombardier on a B 17-G.
He was wounded during a mission to Pölitz Poland and died during the night between the 7 and the 8th of october 1944 at the local hospital in Jönköping Sweden. The funeral services were hold at our city Church and his remains was afterwards transfered to the cemetary in Malmö in Southern Sweden. After the war he and many other airmen that was buried in Sweden was returned to the US.
Daniel on 14th February 2017 @ 7:41am
RIP Stuart. Your sister and I went to visit and and honor your grave yesterday. Rosalie missed you and speaks of you often.
Susan Annala on 28th May 2018 @ 7:03am