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Remembered Today:

Stuck Robert Dixon (TF) Bolton Artillery 211 Bde


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Hello Got a bit stuck not sure were to go next.

I'm looking at my Great Uncles War history, what I know so far is.

Robert Syddall Dixon Gunner Nos 1395 and then 710568. He died 25/10/17 (22yrs) probably at Niewpoort buried at Coxyde. His Brigade on death was 211 ( Bolton Artillery) and he was in 'A' bty he was a Territorial RFA.

I have a copy of the Bolton Artillery a history and also looking on Long Long Trail site his Brigade (previously numbered 1/3 - East Lancs- then 212 -then 211 ) was in Egypt and Gallipoli from September 1914, however Roberts medal card shows his first Theartre of war to be France arriving 25/09/15, 212 (renumbered 211 25/12/16) brigade and 42 Division did not arrive in France until 4th March 1917.

So where was Robert from 25/09/15 till probably March 1917 when he presumably joined 211 Brigade?

To add to the puzzle I reacently went to Roberts grave at Coxyde, next to him are two other 211 Bde 'A' Bty Bolton soldiers both killed the same day (time ?) as Robert they are Corporal Albert Baybutt 828 and 710132 (26yrs) and Sidney Kent 1094 and 710313 (driver ). Both of these are shown as first theartre of war Egypt both arriving 25/09/14 which ties in with the Brigade history.

I have also traced RFA soldiers with regimental numbers just one or two digits above or below Roberts and their medal cards show that they served in Egypt - Gallipoli from September 1914, is it possible that Roberts medal card is wrong (its exactly 1 yr out to the day) and he actually served in Egypt? Also I cant find Roberts service record online.

Any help appreciated . David Robinson

Pic of Robert Below

post-49846-1253784525.jpg

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Welcome to the Forum David, excellent first post.

You have obviously followed and understood all the guidance given here and on The Long, Long Trail.

You are quite right to be confused as it does appear that most adjacent numbers to your great uncle have Theatre of War entry dates of 25-09-14 and in Egypt. There is one exception that I have found - Gunner James Crossley, 1406, 710577 has 24-09-15 but also in Egypt. So there may be an error or two in there or a perfectly reasonable explanation.

I suppose your next step is to follow what happened to 2/3 East Lancs RFA (second line of the unit) that became 332 Bde and was broken up in April 1917.

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David

I find that with the medal cards, the most likely reason for something looking odd is one of simple clerical error. If it was me, I'd be working to the basis that he served first in Egypt - until or unless I came across evidence to the contrary.

John

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Hello Got a bit stuck not sure were to go next.

I'm looking at my Great Uncles War history, what I know so far is.

Robert Syddall Dixon Gunner Nos 1395 and then 710568. He died 25/10/17 (22yrs) probably at Niewpoort buried at Coxyde. His Brigade on death was 211 ( Bolton Artillery) and he was in 'A' bty he was a Territorial RFA.

I have a copy of the Bolton Artillery a history and also looking on Long Long Trail site his Brigade (previously numbered 1/3 - East Lancs- then 212 -then 211 ) was in Egypt and Gallipoli from September 1914, however Roberts medal card shows his first Theartre of war to be France arriving 25/09/15, 212 (renumbered 211 25/12/16) brigade and 42 Division did not arrive in France until 4th March 1917.

So where was Robert from 25/09/15 till probably March 1917 when he presumably joined 211 Brigade?

To add to the puzzle I reacently went to Roberts grave at Coxyde, next to him are two other 211 Bde 'A' Bty Bolton soldiers both killed the same day (time ?) as Robert they are Corporal Albert Baybutt 828 and 710132 (26yrs) and Sidney Kent 1094 and 710313 (driver ). Both of these are shown as first theartre of war Egypt both arriving 25/09/14 which ties in with the Brigade history.

I have also traced RFA soldiers with regimental numbers just one or two digits above or below Roberts and their medal cards show that they served in Egypt - Gallipoli from September 1914, is it possible that Roberts medal card is wrong (its exactly 1 yr out to the day) and he actually served in Egypt? Also I cant find Roberts service record online.

Any help appreciated . David Robinson

Pic of Robert Below

Hi David,

I was delighted to read your post since my Grandfather, David Henry Hirst, also served in this Brigade as a driver. In fact, he joined 18th (East Lancs) Battery on mobilisation in 1914 and went to Egypt and Gallipoli, before travelling to France, as you say, in 1917. The 18th Battery became, as far as I can tell, 'A' battery, so it looks as though they could have been mates!

I have a number of artifacts from his service, including his medals, 'dog tags', a spur, cap badge, shoulder badge etc. His number was 710520. I knew David pretty well, but can only regret that I was too young by the time he died to know which questions to ask. I'd be happy to share information with you.

I also have a couple of shrapnel balls which appear to have been removed from him, and I'd really appreciate any help in finding out where he may have received his wounds (I also have his metal wound stripe).

Photo attached for interest.

Warm regards

Robin Garrity

post-49897-1253990964.jpg

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  • 2 years later...

hi David Robinson i have been reseraching my family tree and robert syddall dixon is my great great uncle i would love to hear anything you know of the family i am related by his younger brother thomas dixon how are you related?

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  • 1 year later...

I have researched the Bolton Artillery in Bolton Library Local Studies. The Bolton newspapers from 1914 to 1916 reported on 1/3 East Lancs Brigade on Active Service in Egypt and Gallipoli and on the formation of the Reserve Brigades 2/3 ELB and 3/3 ELB. From 1917 to 1919 the papers only print photographs and biographies of those killed, wounded or decorated. The death of Gnr Robert S Dixon is reported in the Roll of Honour in the Bolton Evening News of 17/12/1917. He is pictured and his bio states that he was killed on October 25th. He joined in September 1914 and served in Egypt and Gallipoli before going to the Western Front. In civil life he worked at the Springside Paper Mill, Belmont and lived at Springside Cottages, Belmont. The Bolton Chronicle of 21/12/1917 mentioned his death and gave his address as 4 Springside Cottages. In establishing if he was Bolton Artillery I also noticed the discrepancy on his Medal Card. The BEN of 24/09/1915 mentions R S Dixon among those reporting ill in Gallipoli and the BEN of 08/11/1915 mentions among those returning from hospital 1395 Gnr R S Dixon. (Springside Cottages are still there).

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Thanks for the information, I had no information on him being ill in Gallipoli, but I had found postcards from Egypt back to his sister (my grandmother) so I know for a fact that the medal card is wrong. Springside cottages were owned by my Grandfather and Grandmother the full row. Have you ever got as far as the war diaries for the Brigade?

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David

Yes, I have got copies of WO 95/4314 which cover the period from January 1915 to January 1916. There are three records in the box. The first is the typed unsigned WD of 19 Bty from 20/01/1915 to 08/02/1915 covering the Action on the Suez Canal on 02 and 03/02/1915. The second is the WD of 1/19 Bty from 23/09/1915 to 30/11/1915 in Gallipoli (introduced by a prologue covering leaving Southampton, arriving in Egypt and moving to Gallipoli). This record appears to be original since it bears the stamp of the Adjutant General's Office Central Registry dated 22/12/1915. The third record is the reconstituted Brigade WD from 04/05/1915 to 20/01/1916. This record shows that all original Brigade records were lost on 03/01/1916 during the evacuation of Gallipoli.The box does not contain the WDs for 18 and 20 Btys. I have not found these.

I have read the WDs in WO 95/4592 (01/02/1916 to 01/02/1917) and WO 95/2649 (1917 onwards in France) but have not copied them yet. I am planning to go again in the next couple of weeks. I will let you know if there is anything.

Brian

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Brian

Any info on Brigade in Niewpoort October 1917 would be interesting as that was when Robert was killed. Its far from clear what type of war was being fought near the coast , I have been to the area myself and its very low lying actually being flooded deliberately early in the war, trench warfare here wouldn't make much sense.

David


PS I took a trip to the Bolton Library and have copies of the newspaper articles.- David

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David

Yes, just got your PM. Robert's bio in the Bolton Journal of 14/12/17 (usually the same as the BEN) also mentioned that his name is on the Roll of Honour at Astley Bridge Church. These ROHs were for men serving in the Army, not those killed.

Brian

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  • 1 month later...

Found this photo today it was with a postcard from Mena near Pyramids of Giza so circa early 1916 . Thought it was worth sharing, Robert is the gangly youth kneeling on the far left, he looks a bit thin but had been ill as Brian mentions above in late 1915. The lad to the right of Robert also kneeling bears a striking resemblance with David Hirst mentioned in this post already.

post-49846-0-61924800-1394908889_thumb.j

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Another photo, back of which says camp we went to after coming back from Gallipoli, you can see the Pyramids in the background. According to the Bolton Artillery history this is Mena Jan 1916 the previous picture was with this.

post-49846-0-44376600-1394911095_thumb.j

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David

Great pictures. I'm sure that is David Hirst next to Robert. The BEN of 24/10/1914 reported that the Bolton Artillery had been issued with Khaki Drill and on 30/10 quoted Dvr D Broadbent who had sent a photo home. He said "We look like Fred Karno's Jail Birds with our Helmets". The paper did not print the picture. The ORBAT in WO 95/5474 gives the strength of 3rd East Lancs Brigade on 21/01/1915 as 26 Officers, 608 Other Ranks, 534 Horses and Armament as 12 x 15 Pdr BLC. I am not an expert but I did a quick google search on 15 Pounder BLC and the two shells in the picture look like Mark V1 shells with Type 65A fuzes, shown in the info. The Brigade WD (WO 95/4314) shows that two of 18 Bty's 4 guns were blown up during the evacuation of Gallipoli and the WD for 1916 (WO 95/4592) shows that the Brigade was issued with 18 Pounders on 29/02/1916. I think the picture may possibly be before they went to Gallipoli.

Brian

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Brian

I agree its a 15pdr, the 13 and 18pdrs had fixed ammunition the shells would have been longer as the shell case would have a cordite propellant in it. The 15pdr was modified for the TA from an earlier gun and had a separate cordite charge. However according to the Bolton Artillery a History three 15pdrs came back from Gallipoli. On balance its probably 1914-1915 Egypt, however it was with the camp picture post - Gallipoli on plains of Giza and Robert does look like he has been ill as per records, not sure, probably never know but good photo.

David

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  • 6 months later...

Hi David,

I hope you're still checking this thread. I'm very sorry for the long delay, but I'm now living overseas and haven't been to the forum in a long while.

What a mistake to make! That photo is amazing and I am pretty certain that the other kneeling figure is my Grandfather - what a delight it is for me to see it. Thank you so much!

By the way, I have a lot of info on the Nieuport (now Nieuwpoort) theatre, including accurate maps. I too have been there and been to the precise location of the battery position. Interestingly, there are earthworks that resemble gun pits at that location. We'll never know if they are the ones, of course, but it's good to dream. I have photos, if you're interested.

Let me know if you need anything in particular. I'd be delighted to help. That photo has made my day!

Cheers

Robin

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Robin

Been a long time off here too! Any photos or maps you can scan would be very interesting, I'm going back to Belgium next year as its 100 yrs since Robert was killed. Hope you still check from time to time.

David

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Hi David,

I do have quite a few documents and maps that, in the main, I have extracted from the related war diaries. My photos I took myself a few years ago at the exact spot that the batteries were located, according to the Op Orders. You are welcome to all of it.

Some of the files are quite big. The most efficient way of sharing would be for me to upload to a Cloud site whence you could download them. If you're interested, please PM an email address that I could use and I'll send you a link. It may take a few days, but I'll do it as soon as I can (I am currently travelling).

Thanks for re-establishing contact!

Happy New Year

Robin

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