Driver Arthur Dixon, 2014285, Driver, 279 Field Company, Royal Engineers.
Arthur Dixon was born in Ossett on the 9th February 1920, the second child and first son of four children born to Rowland Dixon and his wife Clarissa, nee Bedford, both born in Ossett, who married at the Wesleyan Chapel Ossett on the 2nd February 1914. In 1911, Rowland, aged 19 years and a dyer’s labourer was living with his grandparents at 68, Dewsbury Road, Ossett.
In 1939, Rowland and Clarissa Dixon and their son, Arthur, with two other siblings, were living at 7, Royds Avenue, Ossett. Rowland and Arthur were both working in the woollen trade with Rowland a packer and his son Arthur a warehouseman.
Arthur Dixon married Gladys Dickinson in Batley in spring 1943 and, on the 16th June 1944, their only child, a daughter, Barbara Dixon was born.
The "Ossett Observer" had this short obituary for Arthur Dixon:1
"Driver Arthur Dixon, Ossett - On Saturday last, Mrs. Gladys Dixon, Warwick Mount, Batley, received official information that her husband, Driver Arthur Dixon (24) was killed in action on November 2nd in the North West European theatre of war. Son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Dixon of Royds Avenue, Ossett, he was educated at Gawthorpe Council and Ossett Grammar Schools and was employed by Messrs. Jos Field Ltd,. Batley, until called to the colours in May 1940. He served as a sapper with the Royal Engineers in the Home Forces until D-Day, when he went to France, and subsequently through Belgium to Holland. He was closely connected with the Kingsway Methodist Church from Childhood, taking part with his family in various church activities."
Driver Arthur Dixon died on the 2nd November 1944 aged 24 years and is buried at Mierlo War Cemetery, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands, Grave VI. G. 11.
On the 24th July 1948, the "Ossett Observer" had a follow-up article giving more details of Arthur Dixon's death:
"Pilgrimage To Son's Grave - Ossett Man Visits Dutch War Cemetery - Mr Rowland Dixon, 7 Royd's Avenue, Ossett, returned last weekend from Holland, where accompanied by his daughter-in-law, Mrs G. Dixon, and his four-year-old grand-daughter Barbara, he had visited the grave of his son, a victim of the recent war.
Driver Arthur Dixon met his death on November 2nd, 1944, in Holland as the result of a mine explosion, and was buried near the spot, but was later removed by the British War Graves Commission to the war cemetery at Mierlo-Hout, The visit by his widow and child was made possible through the offices of the British Legion.
Mr Dixon and his companions sailed from Harwich on the Monday night, disembarking at 7am. On the way to Eindhoven they admired the fertile country and the large number of Friesian cattle. At Eindhoven they were warmly greeted by the Dutch family who had been appointed to act as their hosts, and after a drink of coffee they were on their way to Mierlo-Hout. There, after a meal they were handed a bunch of beautiful carnations, to which a card of remembrance was attached.
The Rest Place and Contrast - 'The Rest Place - the Dutch don't like the word cemetery was one of the loveliest spots I have ever seen' said Mr Dixon. 'It had borders of roses and other flowers, and 600 graves in 14 rows, every grave having been adopted by a Dutch family. Two men spend their whole time tending the cemetery, besides all that the individual families do.
After placing our flowers and kneeling, we came away into an adjoining field to find a very sharp contrast. There was an untidy assortment of crosses almost resembling a rubbish heap, and I was told they were the graves of the Germans. I expressed the opinion that something should be done about them, but our hosts disagreed somewhat violently. But for the bravery of those graves you have come to see, what would would have happened to us, was the tenor of their remarks.
Well Stocked Shops - 'Eight of ten people in Holland ride bicycles, and although it is more than 25 years since I rode one, they persuaded me to have a go. In an eight mile run we saw some beautiful scenery. There were some well-stocked shops, from which we made several purchases.
I hope those, who like us, have lost dear ones over there will try to take comfort from the knowledge that the Rest Place is beautifully kept and cared for by these kind people. I would also like to thank the British Legion and the War Graves Commission for the noble part they are playing."
The cemetery was started in the spring of 1945 when graves were brought in from the surrounding district, most of them being casualties of September-November 1944. At that time the main fighting was concerned with clearing the region south and west of the Maas and with opening up the Scheldt estuary further west. Helmond itself was occupied on 25 September, 1944.
Mierlo War Cemetery now contains 664 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, seven of them unidentified, and one Dutch war grave.2
1. "Ossett Observer", Saturday, November 18th 1944.