Dickson, John (No. 18/1697)

Dickson, John


No. 18/1697, 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Died in a Prisoner of War Camp on Wednesday 3 July 1918 (aged 30)


Hautmont Communal Cemetery, France (Grave V. B. 4)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial


In some records his surname is spelt Dixon.

John Dickson was born on 3 August 1887 in the townland of Greengraves, Newtownards and he was a son of William and Charlotte Dickson (nee Quinn) who were married on 2 November 1877 in Ballygowan Presbyterian Church.  William Dickson from Ballygraffin was a son of George Dickson, a weaver.  Charlotte Quinn from Ballygraffin was a daughter of John Quinn, a labourer.

The Dickson family lived at Greengraves; in Circular Street and at 9 Mill Street, Newtownards

William Dickson worked as a labourer, Charlotte worked as worked as a sewer and embroiderer and they had eleven children including:

Martha Adair (born 17 November 1878 in Lisbarnett)

Anne (Annie, born 22 April 1884 in Greengraves)

William John (born 15 January 1886 in Commons)

John (born 3 August 1887 in Greengraves)

Mary Ann (born 29 January 1889 in Greengraves)

James (born 13 April 1890 in Circular Street, Newtownards)

Charlotte (born 20 October 1892 in Circular Street, Newtownards)

Their father, William Dickson, died of stomach cancer on 15 June 1898 (aged 44).

After he left school John Dickson worked as a labourer in a bleach works.

John Dickson and Caroline (Carrie or Kerry) Taylor were married on 26 December 1914 in Newtownards Reformed Presbyterian Church and their daughter Grace was born on 14 February 1915 in Lower Mary Street, Newtownards.  She was baptised in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church.

John Dickson enlisted in February 1915 and he trained at Clandeboye with the 18th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.  He was posted to the 12th Battalion and went to France on 4 October 1915 in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.

Rifleman John Dickson was taken prisoner by the Germans and held at Lager Hautmont where he died of heart failure on 3 July 1918 (aged 30).

It was not until January 1919 that John’s mother heard what had happened to him.  On 31 December 1918 Charlotte Dickson wrote to the Enquiry Department for Wounded, Missing and Prisoners of War.  This Department was part of the British Red Cross Society at 51 Dawson Street, Dublin.  She received a reply dated 4 January 1919 from Edmund Troughton, Honorary Secretary of the Department and in it she read the dreaded news that  her son was dead, ‘We deeply regret to inform you that the Central Prisoners of War Committee state that your son died at Lager Hautmont on 3 July last from heart trouble.  They are surprised to learn that the War Office had not informed his next-of-kin.  Should we get further particulars we have noted your name to receive them at once’.

At the time of John’s death his wife Carrie was living at The Butts, Kilwinning in Scotland.  Charlotte Dickson placed a For King and Country notice in the 18 January 1919 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle on behalf of John’s wife and family, his mother, his sisters and his brothers.

Rifleman John Dickson (No. 18/1697) was buried in Hautmont Communal Cemetery, France and he is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.