Dr. Graham Patrick (Pat) DIXON CBE, MID*

DIXON, Graham Patrick

Service Numbers: Officer, Medical Officer
Enlisted: 20 August 1914, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: Australian Army Medical Corps (2nd AIF)
Born: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 16 May 1873
Home Town: Toowong, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Brisbane State School, Brisbane Grammar School, Sydney University
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Natural causes, St Martin's War Memorial Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 7 August 1947, aged 74 years
Cemetery: Mount Thompson Memorial Gardens & Crematorium, Queensland
Private cremation...Memorial Plot: Columbarium 2, Section 10
Memorials: Maryborough & Wide Bay Club WW1 Honor Board
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World War 1 Service

20 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, 3rd Field Ambulance, Brisbane, Queensland
25 Sep 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 3rd Field Ambulance, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Sep 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 3rd Field Ambulance, HMAT Rangatira, Brisbane
3 Oct 1914: Promoted AIF WW1, Major
9 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, 3rd Field Ambulance, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
1 Jan 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance
3 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, SN Medical Officer, 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, Battle of Romani
1 Oct 1916: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, Battle of Romani, "He showed considerable devotion to duty and praiseworthy handling of his unit and gallantry in his personal supervision of the collection of wounded under fire in the Battle of Romani on August 4th."
23 Dec 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, SN Medical Officer, 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, Battle of Magdhaba
9 Jan 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, SN Medical Officer, 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, Battle of Rafa
26 Mar 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, SN Medical Officer, 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, Battles of Gaza
1 Jul 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Colonel, Australian Mounted Division
31 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Colonel, SN Medical Officer, Australian Mounted Division , Battle of Beersheba
1 Nov 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Colonel, SN Medical Officer, Australian Mounted Division , Battles of Gaza
17 Nov 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Colonel, SN Medical Officer, Australian Mounted Division
19 Jan 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Colonel, SN Medical Officer, Australian Mounted Division
22 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Colonel, SN Medical Officer, Australian Mounted Division
30 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Colonel, SN Medical Officer, Australian Mounted Division
4 Dec 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, Australian Army Medical Corps (2nd AIF)
1 Jan 1919: Honoured Commander of the Order of the British Empire, “For devotion to duty. His arrangements for the care of the sick and wounded have always been well thought out and have proved him to be a very capable Officer. His work during the period of the Es Salt operations was particularly good and deserves recognition.”
22 Jan 1919: Honoured Mention in Dispatches

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Biography contributed by Sue Smith

Graham Patrick Dixon, known as Pat, was born on the 16th May 1873 in Brisbane QLD to his parents John and Louisa Dixon.  He had an older sister Eva and 4 younger brothers Joseph, Lewis, Cecil and Hubert. 

Pat was initially educated at Brisbane State School but after his father died in 1882 Pat obtained a State School Scholarship which enabled him to attend the Brisbane Grammar School.  He was an outstanding student and won the Lilley Silver Medal for the Lower School which is awarded to a Year 9 student for a high level of proficiency in Latin and English.  He won the Lilley Silver Medal for the Higher School which is awarded to the Dux of Year 10 along with a 2 year Grammar School Scholarship allowing him 2 more years at the school.  At the end of the 2nd year he matriculated winning the Lilley Silver Medal in Latin and the Lilley Gold Medal which is awarded to the Dux of the school.  He was granted a 3 year scholarship at any university so he chose Sydney and commenced his medical studies in 1892. 

At the end of his first year he won the Renwick Scholarship, passed with credit and honours in his 2nd year, won the John Harris Scholarship in his 3rd year, passed with distinction in his 4th year and passed with First Class Honours in his 5th year and won the Gold Medal.  He was also awarded prizes for surgery, anatomy & physiology.  After graduating in 1896 with MB and CH.M he spent 12 months working at Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and then a few months at Albury before returning to Queensland in 1897 to take up the position of Medical Officer and Resident Surgeon at the Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.  In February 1900 Pat moved to Maryborough where he established a private practice.  In April that year he was appointed a Captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) and a month later was appointed to command the No. 2 Army Medical Company in Maryborough.  In August that year he was appointed honorary surgeon at Maryborough Hospital.  Much to the sorrow of the local community, Pat left Maryborough in 1911 and spent 12 months studying in England, Scotland, France and Switzerland before returning in 1912 to practice as a consulting surgeon on Wickham Terrace in Brisbane.  In March 1913 he was appointed Medical Officer in charge of enthetic diseases at Brisbane hospital.

With the outbreak of WW1, Pat was commissioned into the AIF with the rank of Captain on 14th August 1914 aged 41.  He was assigned to the 3rd Field Ambulance (3rd FA) and proceeded to the military training camp at Enoggera on 21st August.  A month later on 25th September he embarked from Brisbane on HMAT Rangatira which was part of the First Convoy to sail for Egypt from Albany WA on 1st November 1914. 

Upon arrival at Alexandria, Egypt, on 9th December Pat, along with the 3rd FA, proceeded to Mena Camp 10 miles outside of Cairo.  He remained at Mena until the 3rd March 1915 when he embarked from Alexandria on HMAT Malda and anchored in Mudros Bay off Lemnos Island 3 days later.  In preparation for the landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula, the 3rd FA less the bearer Division, transferred from HMAT Malda to HMT Nizam.  At midday on the 24th April the ships involved in the landings sailed from Mudros Bay and 12 hours later at midnight, arrived offshore of Gaba Tepe on the Gallipoli Peninsula.  Pat remained on the Nizam with 3rd FA Commanding Officer Colonel Alfred Sutton and Lieutenant Hall and watched from there the 3rd FA Bearer Division take part in the landings on the 25th.  Pat, Sutton and Hall were finally given permission to go ashore on 29th April. 

In May Pat took temporary command of the 3rd FA for 5 days while Colonel Sutton was acting ADMS.  A month later he was admitted to the 1st Casualty Clearing Station (1st CCS) with an undisclosed condition but returned to duty 4 days later.  He then served for 2 weeks as Medical Officer with the 6th Infantry Battalion.  In early August he once again became acting CO of the 3rd FA in Sutton’s absence and during that month established an Advanced Dressing Station (ADS) at Brown’s Dip in Victoria Gully.  At the end of this term as acting CO he became ill with dysentery and was evacuated on HMHS Salta to the 17th British General Hospital at Alexandria.  After recuperating he re-joined the Unit at Gallipoli on 2nd December.  He was detailed for duty to Dawkins Point in preparation for the evacuation of the troops from the peninsula.  He was one of the last to be evacuated on the 23rd December on HMS Caledonia.  He disembarked at Alexandria on the 27th and proceeded to Tel-el-Kebir Camp 68 miles NE of Cairo. 

Pat started 1916 with a promotion on the first of January to Lieutenant Colonel and given command of the 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance (1st LHFA).  The Unit moved to Wardan Camp at Beni Salama 78 miles NW of Cairo.  A month later the Unit moved by train to the camp at Minia, 206 miles south of Beni Salama.  In March 1916 the Anzac Mounted Division was formed from the four Australian and New Zealand mounted brigades who had fought at Gallipoli as infantry.  However, while the division was still forming, the 1st LHFA was sent to the Western Desert to fight the Senussi while the rest of the division moved to the Suez Canal.  In May the 1st LHFA moved to Swing Bridge Camp at Kantara 83 miles NE of Cairo and then to Hill 70 Camp near Romani.  They were involved in the Battle of Romani in early August for which Pat’s actions earned him a mention in Sir Archibald’s despatch on 1st October with the following recommendation:

“Lieutenant Colonel G P Dixon, commanding 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, has shown considerable devotion to duty and praiseworthy handling of his unit during the recent operations and particularly in the Battle of Romani on August 4th.  He showed gallantry in his personal supervision of the collection of wounded under fire on that date and much recourse and tenacity in so doing.  The Brigadier of the 1st Light Horse Brigade makes testimony to the excellence of his conduct throughout this battle.”

As Commanding Officer of the 1st LHFA, Pat was involved in the Battle of Magdhaba in December 1916, Battle of Rafa in January 1917 and the 1st Battle of Gaza in March.  In early April he was attached for duty as Acting Assistant Director of Medical Services (ADMS) to the Anzac Mounted Division and was involved in the 2nd Battle of Gaza in mid-April.  He relinquished that role and re-joined the 1st LHFA in mid-June briefly before being transferred on 1st July to the Australian Mounted Division as ADMS with the temporary rank of Colonel.  He was involved in the battles of the Sinai Palestine Campaign at Beersheba in October, 3rd Battle of Gaza in November, Jerusalem November-December 1917, Jericho January 1918 and the 1st Battle of Amman in March 1918.  He was promoted to Colonel in late April 1918 and was recommended for, but not awarded, the Officer of the Crown of Romania Medal with the following: “Has shown particular zeal and devotion to duty as ADMS.  His work at all times has been of the greatest value.”

At the end of April 1918 he was involved in the Battle of Es Salt and his actions in this battle later earned him a recommendation for the Order of the British Empire with the following:

“For devotion to duty.  His arrangements for the care of the sick and wounded have always been well thought out and have proved him to capable Officer.  His work during the period of the Es Salt operations was particularly good and deserves recognition.”

On the 22nd July 1918 Pat embarked from Suez for Australia on HMAT Kanowna and served as Medical Officer on the ship for the voyage home.  He arrived in Melbourne on 1st September and then took the train to Brisbane arriving home on the 5th September.  He was appointed Brevet Major in the Commonwealth Military Forces (CMF) for specially meritorious work on active duty during the war.  Just over 3 weeks after arriving home Pat was admitted to the 6th Australian General Hospital (AGH) at Kangaroo Point with gallstones.  He was operated on there and discharged in early November.  His appointment was terminated in early December and he was transferred to the ‘Unattached List’.  In early December he commenced part-time employment at the 6th AGH at Kangaroo Point. 

On the 1st January 1919 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the highest ranking of the Order.  Three weeks later he received his second mention in a despatch by Sir Edmund Allenby on 23rd October 1918.  Pat was presented his CBE in Brisbane on 20th December 1919 by Sir Harry Chauvel, Commander of the Anzac Mounted Division.

In August 1919 Pat returned to his practice in Brisbane and to his work at the Children’s Hospital.  He also became surgeon at the Greenslopes Repatriation Hospital and Rosemount Military Hospital where his genial nature endeared him to the ex-servicemen he attended to for 27 years. 

Pat was a foundation member of St Martin’s War Memorial Hospital built by the Anglican Church and opened in 1922 as memorial to those who died in WW1.  He was a councillor of the Queensland Branch of the British Medical Association for many years and president in 1922. 

In 1923 he was presented with the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration with post-nominal letters VD as recognition for long and meritorious military service.  In 1926 he transferred to the ‘Reserve List’ and in 1933 transferred to the ‘Retired List’.

He was a foundation fellow of the College of Surgeons of Australasia and a councillor of the Medical Defence Society being president from 1945-1947. 

Pat collapsed on Tuesday 5th August while at his club and was admitted to St Martin’s War Memorial Hospital where he died on the 7th August 1947 aged 74.  He never married.  He was cremated at Mount Thompson Crematorium where his memorial plaque is found in the Memorial Gardens, Columbarium 2, Section 10. 

Three weeks after his death this poem was published in the Maryborough Chronicle on 30th August 1947 in memory of Pat:

Oh! sadly did we hear the news, that Doctor Dixon's pass'd away, He'd followed Doctor Luther here, and lived amongst us many a day.

He practised here for several years and then returned to Brisbane town. While at the General loved by all, and as a surgeon won renown.

His genial smiles remembered yet, by Diggers brave, and patients all. We see him in our fancy still, with cheery laugh and figure tall.

He was a man of dauntless heart, who early went to World War 1, And with the bravest of the brave, he toiled from dawn 'till set of sun.

And far into the fearsome night, midst shells and bullets flying round. He strove to save the Diggers from many a deep and ghastly wound,

But now he’s gone to take his rest, for rich and poor this life must end. And many a heart will heave a sigh, who's lost a Doctor and a friend.

Graham Patrick Dixon was awarded for service in WW1 the CBE, Mentioned in Despatches twice, the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal, Victory Medal and the Anzac Commemorative Medallion. 

Respectfully submitted by Sue Smith 4th July 2022.

SOURCES

https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dixon-graham-patrick-5981

https://heuristplus.sydney.edu.au/heurist/?db=ExpertNation&a=2&ll=Beyond1914&placeid=38474

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Biography

"Prominent City Surgeon Dead

Dr. Graham Patrick Dixon, 74, one of Brisbane's best-known surgeons, died in St. Martin's Hospital last night. He collapsed at his club on Tuesday. He was a Medical Corps colonel in the 1914-18 war, and the Repatriation Department's active surgeon at Rosemount and Greenslopes hospitals until 18 months ago. When he retired as active surgeon he carried on as the department's consulting surgeon. For many years he was senior surgeon at the Brisbane children's Hospital." - from the Courier Mail 08 Aug 1947 (nla.gov.au)

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