Albert (Bertie) DIXON

DIXON, Albert

Service Numbers: 7052, Q197152
Enlisted: 21 August 1917, Place of Enlistment, Brisbane, Queensland.
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 25th Infantry Battalion
Born: SPRINGSURE, QLD, 2 April 1887
Home Town: Springsure, Central Highlands, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Stockman
Died: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 23 May 1993, aged 106 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: South Brisbane Cemetery, Queensland
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

21 Aug 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 7052, 25th Infantry Battalion, Place of Enlistment, Brisbane, Queensland.
16 Nov 1917: Embarked Private, SN 7052, 25th Infantry Battalion, SS Canberra, Sydney
16 Nov 1917: Involvement Private, SN 7052, 25th Infantry Battalion
23 May 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 7052, Severe Gun Shot Wound to the Abdomen.
16 Jan 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 7052, 25th Infantry Battalion, 1st MD

World War 2 Service

8 Aug 1940: Involvement Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN Q197152
8 Aug 1940: Involvement Private, SN Q197152
8 Aug 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN Q197152
8 Aug 1940: Enlisted
11 Jul 1941: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN Q197152
11 Jul 1941: Discharged

Bertie Dixon.

Bertie DIXON was born in Springsure, Queensland to Richard and Jemima Dixon (nee Leopold) in 1894. He volunteered to serve with the first AIF in August 1917, aged 23. Bertie was working as a stockman at Goathlands Station, south of Springsure, his brother Percy Dixon had already enlisted in March 1916 and was serving overseas.

Bertie Dixon trained at Rifle Range Camp, Enoggera before embarking from Sydney on board the troopship HMAT Canberra in November 1917 bound for England. Dixon joined his Battalion in France in April 1918 where that year they were engaged in operations at Morlancourt, Hamel, near Amiens and along the Somme Valley.

On 28 May 1918 Percy Dixon was severely wounded in the abdomen, shot while serving in the front lines at Merricourt. He was evacuated to England for treatment, but never returned to active service. He was returned to Australia just prior to the Armistice in October 1918.

Bertie Dixon returned to work as a stockman and married Ethel Francis Cook in 1922, together they raised 8 children. He continued to suffer from the wound received at the Western Front, but lived until he was 100 years old. Courtesy of The State Library of Queensland.

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From Australian Remembrance Army and family

๐—”๐—น๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ โž๐—•๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฒโž ๐——๐—ถ๐˜…๐—ผ๐—ป
๐—ช๐—ช๐Ÿญ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ
Service No: 7052
Rank: Private
Unit: 25th Infantry Battalion

๐—ช๐—ช๐Ÿฎ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ
Service No: Q197152
Rank: Private

Posting at Discharge: 3 Works & Parks Company
Our group of volunteers recently restored the lettering to the headstone of Albert โ€œBertieโ€ Dixon, his wife Ethel and their baby daughter, Desly. It was a very warm morning at South Brisbane Cemetery, so we were grateful to have our shade tent! We were in contact with Bertieโ€™s granddaughter, Kathryn who advised that her mother Irene (Bertieโ€™s daughter) is now 99 years old and still has a very sharp memory and a good memory storehouse of tales her father told from his early life as a stockman, and stories from her motherโ€™s life. The family were delighted for us to restore the lettering and tidy the grave, on their behalf and were so pleased with the results.

Permission to work on this grave was also given by Brisbane City Council, who are very supportive of our work. The following information on Bertie is as told by his daughter, Irene.
Lest We Forget

๐—•๐—˜๐—ฅ๐—ง๐—œ๐—˜ ๐——๐—œ๐—ซ๐—ข๐—ก
(aka Albert Dixon, Bert Dixon)
(Born 2 April c. 1893 โ€“ Died 23 May 1993)
๐‘ฐ๐’๐’‡๐’๐’“๐’Ž๐’‚๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’—๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’… ๐’ƒ๐’š ๐‘ฉ๐’†๐’“๐’•๐’Š๐’†โ€™๐’” ๐’†๐’๐’…๐’†๐’”๐’• ๐’„๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’…, ๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’…๐’‚๐’–๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’†๐’“ ๐‘ฐ๐’“๐’†๐’๐’†

Bertie Dixon grew up in central Queensland and prior to enlistment in 1917 he worked as a stockman. Various records show his place of birth as Springsure, Queensland. While there are no recorded birth certificates, it is believed that Bertie and his younger brother, Percy Dixon, were the illegitimate children of a property owner and an Aboriginal woman. According to his attestation paper for enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force, signed on 21 August 1917, Bertie Dixon was born on 2 April 1894. However, his application for exemption from the Aboriginal Protection Act, signed in January 1914, lists his year of birth as 1892. He told family members that his year of birth was 1893. His recollection of events from his childhood certainly indicates that he was born in the late 1880s or early 1890s. To add to the inconclusive details as to his exact birthdate, upon enlistment in 1940 for service in World War II his year of birth is recorded as 1887.

During the First World War Bertie enlisted for military service in August 1917. Perhaps his decision was the result of the enlistment in 1916 by his younger brother, Percy. With both Dixon men having certain government controls upon them due to their Aboriginal heritage, it may not have been possible for them to enlist earlier.

By the time Bertie reached the lines on the Western Front in late April 1918, the fighting had bogged down into trench warfare typical of World War 1. Within a month, in late May 1918, a German sniperโ€™s bullet struck the ammunition belt that Bertie was carrying, inflicting a serious wound to the right side of his abdomen. This would take him out of the action.
Bertie shared something of his experiences with his family. He recalled that he tried to plug the wound with a handkerchief wrapped around his fist, and that he remained conscious. As stretcher bearers finally carried him to safety, he overheard one say, โ€œHeโ€™s not got much of a chance.โ€ Bertie was determined to live. His thoughts returned to the property where he had worked and he recalled how the stockmen had once removed a large growth from a bullockโ€™s side. He told himself that if that bullock could live, so could he.

Before enlistment this young man had not experienced any life other than that of a stockman on properties far removed from any city. An accomplished horseman and sportsman, his versatility was noted in the district where he had been born. Polo and cricket were two sports in which he excelled. He also had won the gold medal for high jump at the 1915 Springsure Show. Now, from the trenches, Bertie was taken to a small field hospital where he underwent preliminary surgery before being taken on board an ambulance ship, the Warilda, bound for hospital in England.

Fortune was with Bertie during that voyage to England in early June 1918. A few weeks later the Warilda was torpedoed while taking casualties to England, resulting in the loss of over 100 soldiers and her crew. His association with the ship must have had a lasting effect on Bertie, as he gave the name Warilda to the house he built for his family in Cairns in the early 1920s.

On reaching England in June 1918, Bertie underwent further surgery, followed by several weeks in hospital and a period of convalescence, before embarking in October for return to Australia. He was discharged from the AIF on 16 January 1919. Still in weakened health, he was granted a sustenance payment of twelve shillings per week for two weeks, after which time he returned to the Springsure area to resume work as a stockman.

By the later years of the 1930s, with his wife and children, Bertie had moved from rural Queensland to the outskirts of Brisbane, seeking employment through the era of the Great Depression. In June of 1940, Ethel died following an illness and, with 9 children to support, Bertie decided to enlist in the army again as he was unable to find regular work. He was employed in building Army huts at Redbank camp. Due to circumstances following the death of his wife and then his youngest child he was discharged from the army in mid-1941 and transferred to work in the Rocklea munitions factory until the end of the war in 1945. For several years after the war ended he was employed building Housing Commission homes, before gaining a position as a maintenance carpenter at the Bulimba Brewery until his retirement.

In his later years, he moved to a retirement village and each ANZAC Day was a day he refused to spend there. His RSL friends would collect him and he would spend the day at the Kedron-Wavell Services Club, where he was the oldest member and always feted.
His family cannot recall hearing him complain, even though he carried shrapnel in his body from the wounds sustained in 1918, until his death in 1993.

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