Dickson, John (Johnnie)
Stoker First Class
No. C/K 26818, Royal Navy, HMS Curacoa
Killed in action on Wednesday 24 April 1940 (aged 43)
No known grave
Chatham Naval Memorial (38. 2)
Nephew of Gunner William Dickson (No. 86122)
In CWGC it is recorded that Stoker First Class John Dickson (No. C/K 26818) was a son of John and Theresa Dickson. Theresa Dickson was in fact his stepmother.
John Dickson (known as Johnnie) was born on 7 June 1896 at 29 Kathleen Street, Belfast and he was a son of John and Emily Dickson (nee Bennett) who were married on 9 November 1894 in Westbourne Presbyterian Church, Newtownards Road, Belfast. John Dickson worked as a shoemaker and he and Emily had at least five children:
John (born 7 June 1896 at 29 Kathleen Street, Belfast)
William (born 2 February 1898 at 29 Kathleen Street, Belfast; died 4 January 1940)
Mary (born 26 May 1900 in Ballyhackamore; died from pulmonary tuberculosis 8 February 1907 in Ballymagaughey)
Sarah (born 6 November 1902 at 10 New Street, Ballyhackamore)
Emily (born 14 September 1905 in Ballyhackamore)
John Dickson was 11 years old when his mother, Emily Dickson (nee Bennett), from 10 New Street, Ballyhackamore died in Belfast Asylum on 8 January 1908 as the result of pulmonary phthisis. John and his siblings – William, Sarah, and Emily – along with their widowed father moved from Ballyhackamore to the townland of Ballywilliam, Comber to live with the children’s grandparents – James and Mary Dickson (nee Shields). James and Mary Shields were married on 5 May 1866 in First Comber Presbyterian Church.
After leaving school and whilst living in Ballywilliam, Comber, John Dickson worked in a mill.
On 17 September 1916 John’s uncle, Gunner William Dickson (No. 86122), who served with the Canadian Field Artillery, was killed in action near Pozieres in France.
John’s widowed father, John Dickson, and Theresa McMillan were married on 19 March 1917 in Westbourne Presbyterian Church, Newtownards Road, Belfast. They had known each other from childhood.
John Dickson joined the Royal Navy and during the Second World War he served aboard HMS Curacoa. Stoker First Class John Dickson (No. C/K 26818) was killed in action in the Atlantic Ocean off Narvick, Norway on 24 April 1940.
[In July 1939 HMS Curacoa was converted into an anti-aircraft cruiser and in April 1940 while on escort duty during the Norwegian Campaign was damaged by German aircraft. In October 1942 HMC Curacoa, again while on escort duty, sank after being struck amidships by RMS Queen Mary.]
Stoker First Class John Dickson was an uncle much loved by his brother William’s daughters. William Dickson and Maria Hunter Irvine were married on 5 February 1921, and they had four children:
Olive Theresa Elizabeth (born 11 July 1921 at 43 East Bread Street Belfast)
Kenneth (born January 1923; died 19 February 1923 aged 7½ weeks)
Dorothy (born 9 March 1924; died May 2004)
Emma (born 12 July 1926; died 5 June 1948)
Maria Hunter Dickson (nee Irvine) died of tuberculosis on 24 November 1929 and Olive and her sisters were raised by their paternal grandparents – grandfather, John, and step-grandmother Theresa Dickson (nee McMillan). The girls’ father, William Dickson, died of pulmonary tuberculosis in the Abbey Sanitorium, Whiteabbey on 4 January 1940 (aged 41). Before that, he had been suffering from nephritis for some time. His father, John Dickson, who lived at 32 Hillfoot Street, Strandtown, Belfast was with him when he died.
William, Maria, Kenneth, and Emma Dickson were all buried in Dundonald Cemetery (Grave E2 697).
John Dickson died on 31 December 1948 (aged 81) and Theresa Dickson died on 15 May 1949 (aged 84).