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John Dickson, was born in turbulent and fascinating times of 1867 in the Parish of St Michail's in Limerick, Ireland, the eldest son of John Dickson (born 1844) and Catherine Fitzgerald (born 1843).
At the age of 18 years 6 months, John ceased being a Labourer and joined the British Army as the whole of Ireland at that time was part of Great Britain. When he joined the army, his enlistment papers gave this information. Height 5ft 6.75ins weight 122 lbs., chest 34 ins, Grey eyes, brown hair, fresh complexion.
John was recruited on the 9 June 1885 in Limerick into 5 Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, and transferred into the Leinster Regiment on 12 June 1885, as 944 Private John Dickson. Until the 10 August, John underwent basic training at the Leinster Regiment School, and transferred to the 2 Battalion Leinster Regiment on 11 August 1885, where he continued as a private until 3 May 1889.
On the 3 May 1889, John was promoted to Lance Corporal, and just over 12 months later to Corporal on the 11 May 1890. On the 25 January 1891, John returned to the Regimental depot, and 6 months later, on 29 June 1891, was promoted to Lance Sergeant, making Full Sergeant some 6 months later on 5 January 1892.
Having made Sergeant, John was transferred back to the 2 Battalion for overseas duty, and it was not until 28 April 1900, that John was promoted to Colour Sergeant. It was a further 4 years before was promoted to Warrant Officer, on the 11 May 1904, and on the 30 July 1905 was posted to the 5 Battalion Leinster Regiment as Regimental Sergeant Major, where he continued to serve until his retirement on 10 May 1909, having completed 23 years service, 5 as a warrant officer John retired with a pension At his discharge his height was given as 5 feet 10.5 ins, chest 41 ins, eyes grey, hair brown. John was discharged to 36 Caledon Road, East Road, Dublin
The different places that John Dickson went to whilst in the Army
John retired with the Queens Medal for South Africa Campaign with 4 clasps, [Awarded when a Colour Sergeant in Pretoria with clasps for Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal and 1902 Clasp awarded in Middelburg] was also awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
The Great War 1914 1918
John was recalled to Prince Of Wales South Lancashire Regiment (Volunteers) and granted temporary appointment of Lieutenant on 25 Jan 1915. Promoted to Captain (Quartermaster) 25 January 1918 John is listed in Army List 1st August 1919 ref. 1268g as Captain J Dickson Quartermaster 16 Transport Workers Battalion, Prince of Wales South Lancashire Regiment in Prescot Barracks, Merseyside Area, St Helens & Warrington.
After the Great War, John moved with his family to the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of England. IOW Address: Abbeyside, 31 Kings Road, Binstead, Ryde, IOW Subsequently after the death of his wife in 1934/5 John moved to Brighton at 10 Belgrave Place, Kemp Town. Brighton. John remarried whilst living in Brighton to Selina
John died 30 December 1942, at Elm Grove Home following a short illness and is buried at Borough (Bear Road) Cemetery Brighton. The burial is registered in Cemeteries and Crematorium Office burial 74327, John Dickson, Age 75 of 11 Sudeley Terrace, Brighton, Burial plot ZLD 122 for the Roman Catholic faith.
John's grave has a Memorial stone constructed in granite with a long base slab plus cross mounted on plinth. The plinth is inscribed "In memory of Capt. John Dickson Loving Husband of S M Dickson Born 14 May 1867 Died 30 Dec 1942 Rest in peace."
The memorial stone is in good condition, and is surrounded by trimmed grass. Confirmation, seen and photographed by Don & Sheila Dickson on 3 August 1993. Records maintained by The Registrar, Cemeteries and Crematorium Office, Woodvale, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 3QB tel. Brighton 604020
The Leinster Regiment
Leinster Regiment: Regimental H.Q. was located in Birr, Ireland. The Battalion locations in 1901 1st Battalion South Africa; 2nd Battalion Barbados; 3rd Battalion Birr 4th Battalion Maryboro, Dover; 5th Battalion Naven The Regiment served in the South Africa War 1899 - 1902 Regimental History 1761-3 100th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (disbanded) 1780-4 100th Regiment of Foot (disbanded) 1794-18?? 100th (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, the late 92nd now the 2nd Gordon Highlanders. 1805-1815 (?) 100th (Prince Regents County of Dublin) Regiment of Foot, disbanded as the 99th Regiment of Foot. 1816-1818 100th (Duke of Yorks. Irish) Regiment of Foot raised as 101st. 1858-81 100th (Prince of Wales Royal Canadian) Regiment of Foot 1881 linked with 109th (Bombay Infantry) Regiment to form the Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)
Campaigns: 1899-1902 South Africa War 1914-1918 1st World War full service at Ypres and Somme Regiment disbanded 31 Feb 1922 (last British troops left Southern Ireland Dec 17 1922) Formation of Irish Free State Dec 6 1922 Records for Leinster Regiment Munster Books and Pay Lists from 1805 to 1877 Marriages 1812 to 1908 Births/Bapts 1812 to 1908
Records at Public Records Office, Kew, London, England.
Army Career Warrants & Commission appointments in WO 103 Name Index to Service Records in WO 25 in Reference Room @ Kew Regimental Service Records in WO 76, arranged by Regiment between 1764-1961, the card index (incomplete) is in the Reference Room @ Kew. Soldiers documents in WO 97, period 1760-1913 sub set 1883-1913 Medals: South Africa 1899-1903 WO 32/7960, WO/108/136-179 Campaign Medals LSGCM WO 102 Meritorious W 101, Volunteer Officers WO 330 Last records in PRO 1913 Ireland: Birth Marriage registers under the Army Act 1879 between 1880-1921 are held in General Register Office, Joyce House, 8-11 Lombard Street, Dublin 2 New data 3 August 1993
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Dateline 14 May 1867
In Western Europe the North German Confederation is founded. In Italy Garibaldi makes a second attempt to seize Rome, but is defeated by the army of the Pope with French assistance at Mentana.
Emperor Maximillian of Mexico is shot. The Dominion of Canada is established, and Russia sells Alaska to The United States of America for $7M.
The 2nd Parliamentary Reform Bill is passed by the British Parliament with Lord Derby as Prime Minister of Great Britain. Succeeding Peel as PM of Britain Lord Derby was a Tory. In 1867 he joined forces with Disraeli to put the 2nd Reform Bill through Parliament, through which households in towns in Ireland received suffrage, together with those who owned properties valued at £10 in the Counties.
In the capital of Great Britain the 1st London underground railway, a sub surface, steam operated service, was opened as the Metropolitan Line between Paddington and Kings Cross.
Labourer's average earnings were 12/- (55 pence) a week, and a Tradesman could earn 70/- (£3.50) per week. The 1867 Factory Acts were extended to other industries so banning children under 9 years of age from full time employment.
Sir Henry Morton Stanley G.C.B., a British Explorer (of Livingston/Stanley Africa fame) was appointed correspondent to the New York Herald. (Stanley fought for the Confederates in the American Civil War)
Within this background, in late spring, on the 14 May 1867, a child was born in Myles Street, within the Parish of St. Michael's in Limerick, Ireland. John was the first born of John and Catherine Dickson.
Much is still to be researched on John's childhood when schooling was scarce, but events elsewhere were taking place that would affect John's later life. In South Africa, Boer farmers continued to trek north from the Cape to the Transvaal. King Cetewayo menaced the Boers in the Transvaal, and Britain invaded Zulu land, capturing Cetewayo on the 14 July in what is known as the 1879 Zulu War
Life in Ireland, (still at that time part of Great Britain), was difficult and despite the fact that his mother Catherine was unable to read and write so could not help with his education, John grew into a sturdy young man. It was not until 1880 when John was 13 years old that the 1st Education Act was passed making education compulsory. Politics in Ireland were already laying the foundation for a "Troubled Ireland", and on the 6 May the assassination, by Irish Terrorists, of the new and conciliatory Liberal Chief Secretary in Phoenix Park created a serious impact on subsequent English views of Irish Home Rule.
In 1885, as the Earl of Carnarvon, the Colonial secretary in Disraeli's government, gave qualified sympathy for Irish Home Rule, John decided he wanted more from life than being a labourer, so on the 9 June 1885, at the age of 18 years 6 months, John joined the British Army as a Private in the 5 Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers.
John was recruited in Limerick, and transferred into the Leinster Regiment on 12 June 1885, as 944 Private John Dickson. Until the 10 August, John under-went basic training at the Leinster Regiment School, and transferred to the 2 Battalion Leinster Regiment on 11 August 1885, where he continued as a private soldier until 3 May 1889.
In London England the Women's Franchise League was being founded by Emmeline Pankhurst, when on the 3 May 1889, John was promoted to Lance Corporal. John continued to work hard and just over 12 months later was promoted to the rank of Corporal on the 11 May 1890.
Exciting events were unfolding when in London the first Underground "tube" electric train between the Monument and Stockwell made its first journey. Home in Ireland Charles Stewart Parnell, champion of Irish Home Rule, was expelled from the Irish Party after being cited in a divorce case
On the 25 January 1891, John returned to the Regimental depot in Birr, and 6 months later, on 29 June 1891, was promoted to Lance Sergeant, and then to Sergeant after a further 6 months, on 5 January 1892.
It was during this time that John met a young girl from Birr, called Mary Agnes Murdon, who lived at The Bridge, Birr. Whilst on leave from a detachment to the Army Town of Aldershot in England, John and Mary married on the 20 December 1892 at St Brendan's Roman Catholic Chapel, Birr, Kings County, Ireland. Present at the wedding were Patrick Hennessy, Kate Harte, Joseph Murdon (Mary's father) and John's father. It is likely that the couple's mothers were also present, but there is no record.. John and Mary's wedding was a happy event not at all concerned by the Panama financial scandals in France which rocked the financial market of the day. John and Mary continued to reside in Birr as John's army career in the 2nd Battalion progressed, and it was in Birr that their first son, John Joseph, was born on the 21 October 1893.
Home base life in Birr continued for a further 12 months, seeing in May 1894, PM Gladstone resign after the Lords reject his 2nd Home Rule Bill. Then, after 9 years and 156 days in the army, John & Mary got their first overseas posting to the Mediterranean Island of Malta, and it was there in the sunny climate that Mary Elizabeth was born on the 16 July 1895.
Life was tough as a soldier's wife in those days, and just four months later the Regiment was transferred after 18 months in Malta, to Bermuda, so John and Mary packed their bags again and set of for even hotter climes. Nearly two years were spent in Bermuda, during which time a second daughter, Florence Helen was born on the 14 July 1897. Having got used to the warm climate of Bermuda, came the news of another move, and on the 19 October 1897, John, Mary and their two children were posted with the Battalion to Canada on detachment for 6 months! . (Meanwhile back in Great Britain the Royal Automobile Club was founded to fight harsh treatment of motorists by magistrates). Warmer climates beckoned however for the Dicksons, and the return to the West Indies was soon underway, but this time to Barbados on the 6 May 1898. The Army was a solid part of the expansion of the British Colonies, and elsewhere in the world, the Battle of Omdurman in Sudan, 2 September 1898, was fought near Khartoum. The British Army led by Lord Kithchener defeated the Dervishes and established British rule in the Sudan.
A Boer attack on Natal and Cape Colony in October 1899 started the 2nd Boer War, and British Forces at Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley were surrounded. In Barbados. however, unconcerned by these events, John and Mary increased the family with Kathleen Eileen, born 25 January 1900, and over in South Africa, following counter attacks by Lord Roberts, Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley were relieved. In Great Britain the people celebrated Kitchener's and Roberts victories with the Khaki election. The election of 1900 was won by Lord Salisbury's Conservative Party on the patriotic tide unleashed by the 2nd Boer War in which the army fought in Khaki uniforms. (A similar feat repeated by PM Margaret Thatcher following the war between Argentina and Great Britain in the Falkland Islands).
In Barbados John continued to rise through the ranks and John was promoted to Colour Sergeant on the 28 April 1900, and as world trouble continued with the Boxer rising in China (as part of the Opium War), George Kevin Dickson, was born 31 August 1901.
Back in South Africa, from September 1900 there had been a prolonged guerrilla war fought by Boer commandos, and George Kevin was just four months old, and celebrating his first Christmas, when on the 26 December 1901 the family was posted to South Africa. Here the Battalion took part in the 2nd Boer War, and exciting news reports were filed by Winston Churchill, War Correspondent. For three and a half years John served in the Boer War, until the peace of Vereeniging in May 1902 John received the Queens South Africa Medals in 1901 and 1902 with clasps for Cape Colony, Orange Free State and the Transvaal
Back in Great Britain "Women were on the move!" with the formation in 1903 of the "Women's Social and Political Union" by Emmeline Pankhurst together with her daughter Christabel.
Old adversaries, Britain and France signed the "Entente cordiale" in 1904 as an "understanding" on colonial matters. This strengthened the position of France and Great Britain against Germany.
Whilst still in South Africa, on the 11 May 1904, John was promoted to the position of Warrant Officer 1 as Regimental Sergeant Major, the highest non commissioned officer rank in the British Army, and on the 4 July 1905 the Regiment returned home to Ireland, John and Mary having spent nearly 11 years away from home!
In Great Britain after the excitement of the War in South Africa, major happenings were afoot by the growing band of motorists and a militant breakaway group from the RAC formed the Automobile Association.
The position of Prime Minister of the Parliament of Great Britain was formally recognised for the 1st time with the election of Campbell-Bannerman. In 1905 Sinn Fein Political Party was founded by Arthur Griffith.
The Leinster Regiment, with their 5 Battalion Sergeant Major, John Dickson, returned to Navan in Ireland, but Ireland was by then no peaceful place. Historical problems of landlords evicting tenants from their houses formed the basis from which Irish Nationalism was growing, (particularly against the English land owners!) The Irish Constitutional Crisis had started in 1886, and the internal struggle was in full swing. Never the less, John and Mary continued to bring up their family, and on the 4 December 1906 their fourth daughter, Beatrice Patricia was born in Navan.
John continued to serve in the Leinster Regiment, but he was "home for good", and as Regimental Sergeant Major with 5 Battalion Leinster Regiment , he continued to serve until his retirement on 10 May 1909, at the age of 42 years.
John had completed 23 years service, 5 as a warrant officer, and at his discharge his height was given as 5 feet 10.5 ins, chest 41 ins, eyes grey, hair brown.
Yet John was not old, and had a further career in front of him! His discharge papers still listed his trade as Labourer, but with special skills as "a very good accountant".
So John and Mary went off to live at 36 Caledon Road, East Road, Dublin, where on the 12 May 1909 Gertrude Matilda Agnes was born, then three years later their 6th daughter Veronica was born on the 3 June 1912.
To date no records have been unearthed for the period in Dublin, but the Irish Constitutional Crisis still continued. In 1910 the dependence of the Liberal Party on the support of Irish MP's, combined with the end of the House of Lords veto in Parliament, started the process for the 3rd Home Rule Bill.
The 3rd Home Rule Bill for Ireland was passed by Parliament but the outbreak of the Great War caused Home Rule to be frozen. This fuelled continued internal unrest within Ireland, and with the financial help of Irish exiles in the Americas, the Irish Republican Army was created and funded.
In 1913 Jim Larkin (1876-1947) leader of the Irish Transport & General Workers Union initiated the 6 month long Dublin Tramways Strike. The purpose of the strike was to unionise low paid Irish workers, North and South. The strike failed, and drove its other leader James Connolly, into an alliance with militant nationalists leading toward the Easter Rising in 1916.
It is not possible to determine where John and his family stood, but John's links with the Army were strong, and on the outbreak of the Great War (1914-1918), John returned to the "colours" as an officer. Recalled to Prince Of Wales South Lancashire Regiment (Volunteers) John was granted temporary appointment of Lieutenant on 25 Jan. 1915. John moved his family to Merseyside, England and thus took the first step toward changing the culture of the Dicksons from Irish to English.
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