Lieutenant William Alfred Dixon
Lieutenant William Alfred Dixon (aged 39) of the 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, attached to 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment (Annagh Beg near Ballinhassig, or Toureen)
Date of incident: 22 Oct. 1920
Sources: II, 23, 25, 28 Oct. 1920; CE, 23, 25, 26, 28 Oct. 1920; CC, 23 Oct. 1920; CCE, 23 Oct. 1920; CWN, 6 Nov. 1920; Frank Neville’s WS 443, 5 (BMH); Michael Coleman’s WS 1254, 7 (BMH); Ted O’Sullivan’s WS 1478, 23-24 (BMH); Michael J. Crowley’s WS 1603, 9 (BMH); Daniel Canty’s WS 1619, 17-19 (BMH); Michael Riordan’s WS 1638, 15-16 (BMH); James Doyle’s WS 1640, 11-13 (BMH); Maurice Donovan’s WS 1736, 2-4 (BMH); Rebel Cork’s FS, 102-3; Barry (1949, 1989), 28-31; Sheehan (2011), 120; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 139; Kautt (2010), 153-56; Donnelly (2010), 186-95; irishmedals.org (accessed 28 July 2014); Commonwealth War Graves Commission;
http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/list-1921.html http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/ballinhassig/ballinhassig.html; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/ballinhassig/dixon/dixon.html (accessed 1 Aug. 2014).
Note: A large number of Volunteers (‘nearly a hundred’ according to one account) ambushed a military party at Annagh Beg, between Innishannon and Ballinhassig, on 22 October and succeeded in inflicting severe casualties. (Tom Barry called this attack the Toureen ambush.) Leading the attack were Barry as the column O/C; Charlie Hurley, the No. 3 Brigade O/C; Liam Deasy, the brigade adjutant; Dick Barrett, the brigade quartermaster; and Seán Hales, the Bandon Battalion O/C. See Daniel Canty’s WS 1619, 19 (BMH). Besides killing Lieutenant W. A. Dixon, the Volunteers also mortally wounded Private C. W. Reid and Private Jones. A fourth soldier (Sergeant T. Bennett) died of his wounds the next day. In addition, five or six other soldiers were reportedly wounded. Two lorries were involved. One carrying dispatches made it through the ambuscade; the second was disabled by gunfire and its occupants were picked off one by one. The lorry that returned from the scene with casualties on 22 October had much pain to bear: ‘All the soldiers in it seemed to be injured badly. Three were lying prostrate in the car, one of them being supported by another soldier whose hands were covered with blood. The man seated in front beside the driver had his coat thrown open and his chest bare, and seemed dazed.’ See II, 23 Oct. 1920.
The ambush was followed that night by severe British reprisals in Bandon, where soldiers broke out of barracks and burned or wrecked numerous houses and shops and a large hosiery factory. See CE, 25, 26 Oct. 1920.
Lieutenant Dixon was wounded after he jumped out of one of the two Crossley tenders in which the British forces were travelling when ambushed. He was first struck in the shoulder by a rifle bullet and fell down; he was then hit again in the nose by a revolver shot fired at close range and was killed instantly. See II, 28 Oct. 1920. Winner of the Military Cross in June 1918, Dixon had first enlisted in the British army in 1905 and had served throughout the Great War, with action in the First Battle of Ypres, at Salonika for three years, and in the Russian Expeditionary Force. He was the eldest of the thirteen children of a Dover bricklayer and his wife. Christened in the Church of England, he became a Catholic when he married Ellen Mary Burke in 1903 at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Dover, which was also the scene of his funeral (with full military honours) at the end of October 1921. He was buried in St James’s Cemetery in Dover. See http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/list-1921.html (accessed 1 Aug. 2014).