Lt William Alfred Dixon MC, 2nd Bn. Suffolk Regiment Attached 1st Battalion Essex Regiment.

William Alfred Dixon was a Lieutenant in the Suffolk Regiment. He was a Dover resident and professional soldier, having enlisted in 1905. He served throughout the Great War, being wounded in the first battle of Ypres, and for three years at Salonika, and also in the Russian Expeditionary Force.

His parents were William Alfred Dixon snr. (a bricklayer), and his wife Esther (nee Betts). They had married 23 October 1880 at the Register Office in Dover, and William Alfred was the first of their thirteen children; [One son died in infancy]. The family lived at Mill Lane, Dover in 1881, at 53 Odo Road, Dover in 1891, and at 5 St Andrews Terrace, Dover in 1901.

1881 Mar 19. Born Dover, Kent.

1891 census with his parents at 53 Odo Rd, Dover

He was later apprenticed to Mr. I.W. Bromley of Dover, (a Carpenter), for five years, completing his term in November 1902. (An Army Trade Assessment carried out at Woolwich on 15 June 1906 showed him to be a “good skilled carpenter”).

1901 census a boarder at 4 Crabble Av, Doer.

1903 Sep 11. He married Ellen Mary Burke at St Paul's Catholic Church, Maison Dieu Road, Dover. She was the daughter of Claude Connell Burke and his wife Alice Matilda (nee Beaumont). Claude was a Paper Mill Worker who had previously served as a Sergeant in the Royal Marine Light Infantry and had completed at least eighteen years service with the corps. Claude and Alice lived at 5 Leslie Cottages, Buckland, Dover.

It seems that William Alfred converted to the Catholic faith in order to marry Ellen Mary, his parents and siblings having all been christened into the Church of England. William Alfred's service records all show his religious denomination as “RC”.

1905 Feb 28. William and Ellen had one child, Agnes and later baptised 1 Mar 1905 at St Paul's Catholic Church, Dover.

1906 Jun 21. Enlisted in Suffolk Regt. at Woolwich as Private 7350, Suffolk Regiment; (he enlisted for 12 years, being 9 years with the Colours and 3 years Reserve List). He joined his unit (1st Btn. Suffolk Regiment) at Bury St Edmunds 23 June 1906, and was posted to duties at depot

1906 Jun 24. Posted to Home Depot

1906 Sep 28. Posted to Home Duties

1907 May 29.  Appointed Lance Corporal

1907  Nov 20. Posted to Malta – Lance Corporal 1st Btn.Suffolk Regt.

1908 Jun 21. Awarded 1st Good Conduct Badge

1910 Aug 22. Promoted to Corporal

1911 Jan 25. Posted to Egypt - Corporal 1st Btn.Suffolk Regt.

1911 census and he is a Corporal 1st Battalion Suffolk Regimont, H Company And Regtl Staff, Mustapha Pasha Barracks, Alexandria, Egypt. He is given as "married"

1912  Dec 1.  Appointed unpaid Lance Sergeant

1913  Feb 11. Awarded 1st Class Certificate

1913  Dec 30. Promoted to Sergeant

1914 Feb 28.  Extended his service to complete 12 years with the Colours

1914  Aug 5. Posted to UK – Attached 8th Btn.Suffolk Regt.

1914  Oct 14. Reposted to 1st Btn.Suffolk Regt. - Sergeant

1915 Jan 14. Landed in France

1915 Mar 25. Promoted to Colour Sergeant

1915  Mar 31. Appointed acting Company Quarter Master Sergeant

1915 Jun 9. Appointed acting Company Sergeant Major

1915 Jun.  Wounded in Action (gunshot wound in the right shoulder)

1915  Jun 25. Posted to UK for recovery from wound

1915 Jul 29. Posted to 3rd Btn. Suffolk Regt. - Acting Company Sergeant Major

1916  Mar 1. Extended his service to complete 21 years Army Service

1916 Apr 8 Commissioned into 3rd Btn.Suffolk Regt.

1916  Apr 25. Joined his Battalion at Salonika, Greece

1917  Oct 8.  Promoted to Lieutenant – (Gazette 7 Feb 1918)

1918  Aug 8. Posted to UK for Leave.

1918 Oct 29. Joined G.H.Q. Small Arms School as “Student”

1918 Jun 3. Gazetted MC. Lt. (T./Capt.) William Alfred Dixon, Suff. R. for “distinguished conduct in the field”

1918  Nov 21.  Posted as Lewis Gun Officer to 84th Punjabi Regt. serving in Russia

1919  Oct 25.  Departed from Chanak, Dardenelles aboard HMT “Trent” for return to UK

1920 Oct 22 died age 39, having returned there just two days before, after ten days leave in Dover. He had been travelling in the second of the two military lorries, and on a secluded stretch of road when it was ambushed at Ballinhassig

Lieutenant Dixon's funeral service began at St Paul's, where he had lain in state the night before. Father Grady officiated, and the coffin, with the Union Flag draped over it, was then carried on a gun carriage to St James. The pall bearers were from the Essex Regiment, and it was a funeral with full military honours, with a band from the 2nd battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, and a party from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Sussex firing three volleys over the grave. The Last Post was sounded. There were many mourners, including his wife and child, his sister, Mrs Hatton, and his brother, Alfred Dixon, who was musical director at the Lord Warden Hotel.

The financial cost of the funeral (£34.15s.0d) was initially met by his widow, Ellen Mary, with the Army finally reimbursing her in full in November 1921, but only after she had argued that sixteen officers and men killed in Ireland shortly after the date of her husband's death had received a “Public Funeral”. (The gross value of his entire estate was £104.14s.6d).

1924 his widow, staying in Folkestone with the family of his brother, Ernest Dixon, a casualty in the Great War, requested that William's name should go on the Dover Town Memorial. This request was turned down, because, although Lieutenant Dixon had served through the Great War, and had died in service, his death was not attributable to the Great War of 1914-18.

Ballinhassig Ambush