Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

By Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

The 80th anniversary of the World War Two D-Day landings will be commemorated with a new comic strip going on display at The Atkinson in Southport. 

The work has been created by renowned artist Stuart Harrison and will be available to view from this Thursday (6th June 2024). Admission is free. 

The strips are one and a half metres high and have been inspired by Southport D-Day veteran Ted Jackson. 

Ted and his comrades in the King’s Liverpool Regiment stormed Sword Beach on 6th June, 1944. 

His son, Dave Jackson, opened Southport Hobby Scene shop on Princes Street in Southport town centre in the 1980s, and ran it until he died recently. 

The last independent model shop was an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of model trains, planes, boats, cars, tanks and regiments of toy soldiers.Airfix, Revell, Italer and Heller models packed the walls of the unique shop, which was in many ways a fortress against the forces of modernity.

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

Medals and memorabilia from Ted Jackson’s military career, such as his dog tags, were on display alongside a deactivated Lee Enfield rifle which was the British standard issue weapon during World War Two.

Ted died aged 91, in 2010, and RAF Woodvale sortied two planes to roar over the cemetery as his coffin was interned at Our Lady of Compassion Church.

Ted’s story has now been told in comic strip form by artist and illustrator Stuart Harrison, as a way of engaging with younger generations and encouraging them to learn about this crucial part of world history. 

Stuart was originally commissioned to produce artwork as part of the Sefton Borough Of Culture celebrations in 2020, until they were sadly curtailed by the Covid pandemic. 

His artwork will now finally go on show in Southport. 

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

Stuart said: “I have a project of local significance to Southport which I would love people to see. 

“For the Borough of Culture 2020 I was commissioned by Sefton Council to produce 12 comic strips of the lives of famous people who come from Sefton and wished to continue this series telling the story of a local man who fought on D-Day.

“Ted Jackson’s son, Dave Jackson, owned the model shop on Princes Street where I bought my Airfix models, and he had some amazing military ephemera, such as a cigarette tin of sand from Sword Beach.

“The Atkinson professed an interest in showing the strip, printed at a large scale. 

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

“I live in Southport and I wanted to do something to commemorate D-Day, and to help inform younger generations that it actually happened.

“Lots of people now don’t know much about D-Day. 

“I felt that a comic strip was an effective method to tell a story in a fun way. 

“It’s going to be displayed in the Atkinson and will be 1.5 metres tall. 

“Ted Jackson was from Southport and fought on D-Day. He had wanted to join the RAF, but they wouldn’t let him. So he joined the Army, and signed up with the Liverpool King’s Regiment. He loved aircraft, and was looking up and spotting aircraft flying over the beach at Normandy. 

“Before D-Day, he had done some training on Formby Beach. 

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

“During the fighting he was temporarily blinded by a German bomb blowing up in his face, but luckily got his sight back. 

“He had some remarkable stories. He rescued a tiny kitten which was on the beach during D-Day.

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

“He remembers hearing the bagpipes, from a piper playing them during the landing. 

“They were played to raise the morale of the soldiers, and he had a lifelong love of bagpipes as a result.

“The German soldiers were so confused by the sound of the bagpipes when they first heard them that they reportedly stopped fighting! 

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

“Another story he told was when a spider was crawling on his helmet and he moved to one side to shake it off, and next thing a sniper’s bullet whizzed past his ear. If it wasn’t for that spider, he would have been killed. 

“As a result, Ted and his family always saw spiders as lucky, and they could never bear to kill one in their house.”

Stuart Harrison is an award-winning character designer and cartoon illustrator with over 25 years of experience across children’s media and the communication design industries. 

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

Artist Stuart Harrison has created comic strip artwork inspired by the D-Day landings during World War Two which are on display at The Atkinson in Southport

He co-founded Fun Crew, an independent content creation studio and creative consultancy in 2006 with Angela Salt.

Stuart has provided character design and illustration for a broad range of international clients from blue-chip companies to individual, bespoke commissions. 

He works across children’s media, animation, publishing, advertising, consumer products, packaging, games and apps. 

For more details visit: www.stu-art.biz 

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Do you need advertising, PR or media support? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrownn@gmail.com 

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