Arnold Jackson (British Army officer)

Arnold Strode-Jackson
Nickname(s) "Jackers"
Born (1891-04-05)5 April 1891
Addlestone, Surrey, England
Died 13 November 1972(1972-11-13) (aged 81)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1914–1919
Rank Brigadier General
Unit Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)
Commands held 13th (Service) Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps
Battles/wars First World War
Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order & Three Bars
Mentioned in dispatches (6)

Brigadier General Arnold Nugent Strode Strode-Jackson CBE DSO*** (5 April 1891 – 13 November 1972) was a British athlete, British Army officer, and a barrister. He was the winner of the 1500 m at the 1912 Summer Olympics, in what was hailed at the time as "the greatest race ever run". He was a brigadier general and amongst the most highly decorated British general officers of the First World War.[1]

Early life

He was born Arnold Nugent Strode Jackson at Addlestone, Surrey, changing his surname to Strode-Jackson on 31 March 1919 (as noted in The London Gazette of 1 April 1919).[1] He was the son of Morton Strode Jackson and Edith Rosine Martin, and grandson of Lieutenant General George Jackson.

His uncle was Clement Jackson, athlete, academic, bursar of Hertford College, Oxford, and co-founder of the Amateur Athletic Association.[1] His sister was the novelist Myrtle Beatrice Strode Strode-Jackson.[2]

He was educated at Malvern College, where he was head of his house and head of the athletics team, and there acquired the nickname, "Jackers". Jackson entered Brasenose College, Oxford in 1910, where he took a degree in law.[1]

Athletic career

Arnold Jackson

Jackson winning the 1500 m race at the 1912 Olympics
Personal information
Height 176 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 67 kg (148 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 1500 m, mile
Club University of Oxford
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 1500 – 3:56.8 (1912)
Mile – 4:21.4 (1912)[1][3]

Jackson rowed and played football and hockey for Brasenose College, being captain of the hockey team.[1] He won the mile race for Oxford against Cambridge three times and was President of the Oxford University Athletic Club.

In 1912, while still an undergraduate, Jackson cut short his fishing holiday in Norway, and travelled by train to compete in that year's Olympic Games in Sweden. He had to compete as a private entry, not having been chosen by the Great Britain team, along with his friend from Cambridge, Philip Baker, another private entry. This was the last Olympics at which such private entries were allowed. Even when compared to the amateurish race preparation of the era, Jackson's training regime of massage, golf and walking seemed very relaxed.

At Stockholm, American hopes were high to win a gold in 1500 m, as the USA dominated mile racing at that time, and seven of the runners in the final were from the USA. The race started at a modest 65 second pace, until Norman Taber from USA took the lead and increased the pace. At the bell for the final lap, Abel Kiviat, a world record holder in 1500 m from USA, was first, followed by Taber and John Paul Jones, the mile world record holder from the USA. On the final turn, Mel Sheppard and Jackson also joined the crowd on his heels, with Sweden's Ernst Wide closing fast. The three Americans ran abreast in an attempt to stop anyone from overtaking, so Jackson had to run wide. With 50 yards left, Jackson came even with Kiviat and Taber, as Jones and Wide started to fade. Jackson summoned one last burst and captured the gold in 3:56.8, an Olympic record. Kiviat and Taber both clocked 3:56.9, and the photo had to be reviewed before officials handed the silver to Kiviat. Baker finished sixth. At the time, it was widely acclaimed as being "the greatest race ever run".[4] Aged 21, Jackson was the youngest ever Olympic 1500 m gold medalist until Asbel Kiprop in 2008, aged 19.

Military career

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Jackson was commissioned in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and, in September 1914, was attached to the 13th (Service) Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, as a 2nd Lieutenant. He went over to France with the battalion and was with them until promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in May 1918, when he took command of the 13th Battalion, The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

In December 1914, he was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant. On 1 July 1916, he was promoted to Captain. He was made an Acting Major by the time of his first DSO on 4 June 1917, and in August 1917, Acting Lieutenant-Colonel. He was made a full Lieutenant-Colonel in May 1918, and Acting Brigadier in October 1918.

Jackson served in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, becoming a Brigadier-General in the British Army and being awarded the Distinguished Service Order with three bars. The war put an end to his sporting career, for he was wounded three times and left permanently lame.

Medals and honours

He was awarded his DSO and Three Bars, with citations from The London Gazette, as follows:

Jackson was also Mentioned in Despatches six time during the war, all published in the Gazette: 15 June 1916, 23 July 1917, 21 December 1917, 24 May 1918, 28 December 1918 and 12 January 1920.

Later life

He was a member of the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, and was awarded the CBE for his work there.[1] He was called to the Bar at Middle Temple.

He went on to be a member of the British Olympic Council in 1920, and a major force in the founding of the Achilles Club.

He emigrated to the United States in 1921,[1] where he worked in industry and as a Justice of the Peace in Connecticut. He directed the first Kentucky Derby Festival in 1935. During World War II, he was a Colonel on the staff of the Governor of Kentucky, and Administration Officer of the Inspection Board of U.K. and Canada in New York and Ottawa, in charge of Inspectors and anti-sabotage precautions. He also met convoys arriving in New York and give what help he could to returning servicemen.

He was the author of Kentucky Heyday: 1787-1827; the life and times of Kentucky's foremost portrait painter, published in 1956, a book about the artist Matthew Jouett[5]

He became a U.S. citizen in 1945.[1]

In 1963, after the death of his wife Dora, he returned to Oxford where he lived until his own death on 13 November 1972.

Personal life

In 1918, he married Dora Mooney, daughter of the late William Allen Mooney of Silver Hills, New Albany, Indiana, USA.


A play about his life, "Strode-Jackson" was written by Mike Hodd and Jack Thorington, and premiered at the King's Head Theatre, London, in 1979.

A full-length oil painting of Jackson is prominently displayed at Vincent's Club in Oxford, having been rescued and repaired after lying neglected for many years in a Brasenose College cellar.[6]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Arnold Jackson.
  2. M. B. S. Strode-Jackson's Elizabethan Romance Tansy Taniard.
  3. Arnold Jackson.
  4. Athletics at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games: Men's 1,500 metres.
  5. Strode-Jackson, Arnold (1956). Kentucky heyday, 1787-1827; the life and times of Kentucky's foremost portrait painter. New York: Vantage Press.
  6. Vincent's Club A Happy Breed of Man.

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