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The Music Maker

One POW provided hope for thousands

On May 8 1945, forty-six-year-old Drum Major Jackson staggered towards his American liberators. Emaciated, dressed in rags, his decayed boots held together with string, he’d been force-marched for twenty days over the Austrian Alps after five heinous years as a POW in Nazi labour camps. He collapsed into his liberators’ arms, clinging to his only meaningful possession—his war diary. Having already experienced the horrific nature of battle in the First World War, Jackson had now survived another War—unlike hundreds of his mates, who’d succumbed to disease, insanity, or had been killed in action. Men far younger than he. But he could never have imagined what awaited him on the home front. A captivating testament to human endurance, Jackson’s diary and photos, one of the last such memoirs to be published, is the inspiration for The Music Maker. An unforgettable and gripping true story about the life and times.

Jaci Byrne is the granddaughter of The Music Maker, the late Drum Major Henry Barnes Jackson. A full-time writer, Jaci has published four novels and a series of children’s books. The Music Maker is her first work of non-fiction. She lives in Avalon Beach, Sydney.