Name: John Dixon
DoB: January 20 1890
DoD: April 9 1917
Academic Career: 1905 – 9.
John was the eldest of nine children born to John Dixon and his wife Mary Elizabeth Horn Mellish. His parents married in Carlisle and set up home with Mary’s childless maternal aunt and uncle, William and Hannah Bell who farmed at Stainton, near Carlisle. John’s paternal grandparents Simpson and Margaret Dixon also had a farm at Stainton. His maternal grandparents married at Penrith and grandfather James Mellish had been a coal merchant. In the 1901 census John is living with his parents, Mellish grandparents and great -uncle William Bell at Stainton. The majority of this extended family were farmers.
John attended the grammar school for four years. None of his brothers followed him; therefore it seems likely that he had won a scholarship.Whilst at school he was a keen cricketer, winning the cricket shield in 1907 and in the Carliol magazine he is praised several times for his bowling, but at best was only “a fair bat or fielder“. He also played football and Rugby, but as a wing 3/4 he was apparently “hampered by his lack of weight“, however this lack of weight enabled him to do well at the steeplechase and he came second in the egg and spoon race. John was also on the sports day committee and an active member of the debating society. In his final year he was in the pupil teacher class. According to the memorial register he became an uncertified teacher at Stanwix Council School. On July 4 1913 he sailed from Liverpool to Quebec, listing his profession as teacher.
John joined the 44th Battalion, at Winnipeg, Manitoba on May 11 1915. He is listed on the embarkation roll as a lance corporal, and he gave his father in Carlisle as his next of kin. He had no previous military service. The 44th Battalion went to England on the SS Lapland on October 23 1915.
When he died he was in the 10th Battalion, so must have transferred. The war diary for the 10th Battalion for April 8 1917 states that they were at Ecoivres and it says,
“There was no change in the disposition of companies and detachments in the line or in billets in ECOIVRES.
During the early hours of the morning the parties of the Battalion carried out a raid on the enemy trenches, capturing 2 prisoners and obtaining much valuable information.
Our casualties were not heavy.
2 Officers KILLED
3 Other Ranks KILLED
13 Other Ranks wounded”. No casualties were recorded the next day, the day John died, so possibly he was one of those wounded on the 8th but didn’t die until the next day. He has no known grave and is commemorated at Vimy Ridge.
10th Battalion Canadian Infantry. Alberta Regiment. Service number 622349
1851: HO107/2426/201 & 2432/15
1861: RG9/3903 & 3928
1871: RG10/5224 & 4244/42/19
1881: RG11/5145 & 5161 & 4281
1891: RG12/3478 & 4292
CGS Memorial Register