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Richard and Alice Ann Dixon (nee Chatburn) were married in Preston in 1882 and they had two sons, their first child William was born in 1883. The second child was named Joseph and he was born in 1885.

In 1887 William`s father Richard passed away and this appeared to signal the breakup of the family. By the 1891 Census William was living with his paternal Grandmother Elizabeth and her second husband John Brown at 28 Sedgewick Street, Preston.

Meanwhile, William`s mother Alice Ann was living at 42 Newton Street, Preston with her brother Henry. William`s brother Joseph appears to be living with his maternal grandparents George and Ann Chatburn who were at number 13 Newton Street just along the road from Alice Ann.

On the 9May, 1891 William and Joseph`s mother Alice Ann remarried to William Alfred Finch and not long after they had a daughter also named Alice Ann. In 1893 Alice Ann Finch and her daughter Alice left Preston for Boston, Massachusetts. Joseph Dixon went with them but his brother William Dixon stayed behind in Preston.

On the 1 July, 1909 William Dixon married Mary Thompson in Preston. William and Mary had their first child a daughter Rose who was born in July, 1910.

In the 1911 Census, William, Mary and baby Rose were boarding with Mary`s parents Andrew and Rose Ann Thompson at 70 Geoffrey Street, Preston. William`s father in law Andrew was a Draper and William was working as a Drapers Assistant.

Just over two years later William boarded the SS Laconia at Liverpool which was bound for Boston, arriving there on 10 September, 1913. His wife Mary and daughter Rose followed him five months later, landing in Boston on 27 February, 1914.

The next significant date shows that on 13 April, 1915 Mary and daughter Rose sailed back home on the SS Pretorian an Allan Line Ship. William followed them two months later on board the SS Cameronia, landing at Liverpool on 20June, 1915. It would appear that William had returned home in order to do his bit in the war.

On the 10 December, 1915 William enlisted at Preston at the age of 32 years and 2 months. He was given the service number 37653 and was put in the Army Reserve.

In 1916 William and Mary had a second child, another daughter they named Alice.

William was finally mobilised on 9 April, 1917 and at his medical it was noted that he was 5`3” tall and had a 39” chest. He also had a scar on his left cheekbone.

10 July, 1917 William was sent to France and was posted to the 1/4th Battalion, he joined them in the field on 4 August, 1917.

Three months later on 18 November, 1917 William Dixon was killed in action during the Battle of Cambrai.

Battalion account of the actions on 16- 18 November, 1917 were as follows:-

16th November – Moved back to ST. EMILIE.

17th November – Relieved the 1/5th King`s Liverpool Regiment in the GILLEMONT sector.

18th November – Major Crump was in command of the Battalion, and attached to A Company was a raiding party of 19 in training for a raid, under Lieutenant Adamson. At 5.30am the Boche opened a hurricane bombardment on the GILLEMONT FARM sector with trench mortars, including 80 heavy minenwerfer brought up the night before, and reduced the front trench to a shapeless mass of craters : out of 12 posts only Sergeants Hartley and Hogg and half a dozen men were left alive : all the rest with the Officer (Lieutenant Firth) and Sergeant on duty, who were found at the head of the communication trench under two feet of earth, were killed and buried.

The following newspaper report appeared in the Preston Guardian a few weeks later:-


William`s widow Mary Dixon was awarded 25/5d per week for herself and her two daughters Rose and Alice with effect from 10 June, 1918.

Private William Dixon was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and is buried with honour in Villers-Faucon Communal Cemetery Extension.

Rank: Private
Service No: 37653
Date of Death: 18/11/1917
Age: 34
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Janet Davis
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2 Responses to 37653 PTE. W. DIXON. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Dave Odlum says:

    Hello Janet,
    Firstly, thank you for all your hard work finding all this information.
    My name is Dave Odlum and my Grandfather was W Dixon.
    I have photocopies of 3 letters sent by W Dixon, 2 from his training and one send the week before he died.

    If you would be interested in seeing these items I can email you a scan of the letters.

    Many Thanks

    Dave Odlum

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