Wartime family history

Remembering Grandfather, Pte William Dixon 1 L N LAN R

Private William Dixon 37653 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

b.1883 – d.1917

Visiting his Grandfather’s grave David Odlum went to remember Private William Dixon on the 100 years Anniversary of his death and to celebrate his contribution to World War 1, 1914 – 1918.

On 19th November 2017 the Tank Regiment gathered in London to remember the Battle of Cambrai. The Battle was the first time in history where hundreds of tanks were used together in war. In particular it is remembered for the huge numbers of casualties. It was a battle that was planned in the days before it began. It is extremely likely that Pte. William Dixon 37653 was involved in the preparations in those few days before the battle when he was killed near Vimy Ridge on 14th November 1917


See transcript below


Relating to Pte William Dixon

At 5.30am the enemy opened a heavy trench mortar bombardment along our front line, which was followed at 6.15am by a raiding party numbering about 200 who forced an entry into our lines at three places. Two parties entered our lines at GILLEMONT and bombed our front line and down the CT leading to DUNCAN POST. A large proportion of the front line garrison were either killed, buried or wounded by the preliminary bombardment and when the enemy advanced down the CT the boy Cmdr of C Coy organised his xxx into a firing line and head up the advance of the enemy. The enemy were finally driven out of our lines by a counter attack made by two platoons sent up from A. Coy in KEN Lane ……




This picture of William with David’s Grandmother and with Rose, David’s mother as a young girl.

Finally, a moving letter from William Dixon to his wife Mary, and daughters Alice and Rosie, written in the few days before he was killed in action.



Dear Wife & Children

Just a few lines to let you know that I am going on fairly well amongst it all. You will see by the date that its is your father’s anniversary, I will not forget to say a prayer for him tonight before I go to sleep. Then, on Wednesday it is our Alice’s birthday God bless her, I hope that both Her and our Rosie are keeping well, Then on Friday it is my Grandmother’s anniversary. They are dates to be remembered, the 12th, 14th, 16th. I know that they won’t be forgotten, and last and not least my Grandfather’s birthday, I am never sorry when this month goes out. I have no real fresh news to send but I have not forgot that on Dec 1st is your birthday and I am very sorry that I am not at home to cerebrate it, but let us hope and trust that when these birthdays’ come around again that this job os over and that everybody is at home. I hope the you have got my last letter thanking your Joe and Tom for their kind present so I will conclude now with my best Love and the best of wishes to you all so Good Night and God Bless you all From your Loving Husband Bill xxxxxxxxx

Dear Alice and Rosie

God Bless you both. Ask your Grand-dad to give you a kiss for your father

Concluding the mission


The reason that David wanted to make this blog was to help to keep Pte William Dixon’s memory alive for ever in digital form which, we believe, will be accessible for generations to come. David and the family had together spent many hours researching William Dixon’s life and service history. With the addition of the detail help that came from the Lancashire Infantry Museum it made the visit to William’s Grave more informative.

David, William’s Grandson, would like to acknowledge the help he received from The Lancashire Infantry Museum in Preston for the constructive help they gave prior to the visit in November 2017. William Dixon was in fact, a `Tankie’ rather than an Infantryman, but the help is there at the Lancashire Infantry Museum for all comers. Contact: enquiries@lancashireinfantrymuseum.org.uk



1 reply »

  1. Hi David,
    I was very interested to read your blog remembering your grandfather William Dixon.I share your feelings that the very brave men who have gone through wars, for our freedom, should never be forgotten.
    My Grandfather Private Leo Baron,Lancashire Fusiliers,was also killed at Paschendale and buried in Tyne Cot ,Belgium.age 31yrs.I am at the beginning of discovering as much as I can and hope that I might be as successful as yourself.
    I don’t know whether it was the same for you but my parents didn’t talk about the war so much though my father was in Burma for 4years or so.I think they just wanted to forget the horrors of war.
    What caught my eye about your story was that my name is Dixon and i know that two relatives of mine where also killed in the second world war.William and Joseph Dixon.Unfortunately that is all i know,and that like my family were from Great Harwood.
    Well David you have spurred me on to find out more,so thank you for sharing your story.
    Regards Robert Dixon.


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