Dickson, Thomas (Tommy)
No. 7019627, 2nd Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles
Died as a result of an accident on Saturday 25 September 1943 (aged 25)
Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor (Section 5.W. Grave 79)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)
Thomas Dickson was born on 23 July 1918 at 8 King Street, Bangor and he was baptised in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) on 11 August 1918. Thomas was the eldest son of James and Eileen Dickson (nee Watt) who were married on 30 November 1917 in St. Anne’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Belfast. James Dickson (aged 21), a Rifleman from Victoria Barracks, Holywood was a son of Thomas Dickson, a labourer. Eileen Watt (aged 21) from 52 Chadolly Street, Ballymacarrett, Belfast was a daughter of William Henry Watt, an engineer.
During the First World War James Dickson served as a Rifleman with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. In civilian life James worked as a general labourer.
The Dickson family lived at 8 King Street, Bangor.
James and Eileen Dickson (nee Watt) had at least four children:
Thomas (born 23 July 1918 at 8 King Street, Bangor while his father was still on active service)
Kathleen (born around 1930)
Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War Thomas Dickson worked as a green keeper at Bangor Municipal Golf Links, Carnalea. During the war the upper nine holes of this golf course came under the plough as part of the Dig for Victory campaign. The greens were spared and part of the 12th fairway was used by members of the forces for recreational purposes. Thomas Dickson was a member of Bangor Racing Pigeon Club and on 12 April 1941 he and Elsie Barr from 57 Central Avenue, Bangor were married in Bangor Abbey Church of Ireland Church.
During the Second World War Thomas Dickson served with the Royal Ulster Rifles and he died of a fractured skull at 7.20 pm on 25 September 1943 as a result of an accident two days earlier. He died in the Peel Hospital, Galashiels, Scotland.
His wife Elsie lived at 32 Clandeboye Road, Bangor and his aunt, Kathleen Watt, lived at 22 May Avenue, Bangor. Later, Elsie Dickson moved to 13 Scrabo Road, Newtownards and then to 5 Arundel Terrace, Newcastle, Co. Down.
Military honours were accorded for Lance Corporal Thomas Dickson’s funeral to Bangor Cemetery which took place at 4.00pm on 30 September 1943. Comrades from the Royal Ulster Rifles acted as pall bearers and the services in the house and at the graveside were conducted by the Revd James Hamilton. There is an inscription on Lance Corporal Thomas Dickson’s CWGC headstone:
THE FITTEST PLACE
WHERE MAN CAN DIE
IS WHERE HE DIES FOR MAN
Tributes accompanying his death notices included the following:
We who loved him miss him most
For every pain that we must bear
For every sorrow, every care
God knows the reason
God always takes the best
Lance Corporal Thomas Dickson (No. 7019627) was 25 when he died and he is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Bangor Parish Church (St. Comgall’s).
His younger brother James (Jimmy) also served with the Royal Ulster Rifles and his sister Mary served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).
In the years following his death, Tommy’s family placed Our Heroes – In Memoriam and Roll of Honour notices in the Newtownards Chronicle and the County Down Spectator newspapers. Tributes paid included the following:
In silence I remember
Too good in life to be forgotten
He died as he lived, everyone’s friend
For every pain that we must bear,
For every sorrow, every care,
God knows the reason.
Goodnight, my son, not goodbye
We who loved him, miss him most
Those who loved you, miss you most
Today a thought – a memory forever
Though life brings much that is altered,
And time brings friends that are new;
There is one thing that never alters,
That’s the memory, dear Tommy, of you.
He is not lost, our well-beloved,
Nor has he travelled far,
Just stepped inside Home’s loveliest room,
And left the door ajar.
Years cannot dim the love that never dies
Had He asked me, well I know
I would have cried, ‘Oh, spare this blow,’
And, with streaming eyes, would pray:
‘Lord, we love him, let him stay.’
Lance Corporal Thomas Dickson’s sister Kathleen died on 8 July 1953 (aged 23); his father James died on 29 November 1969 (aged 73); his mother Eileen died on 29 April 1977 and his brother Jimmy died on 16 January 1988.