Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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1119294   Leading Aircraftman Thomas Alexander Dixon
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 07/02/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (British Air Force)
Died: 28/08/1941 (Died by accident)
Age: 20
Summary      
Thomas Alexander Dixon was the youngest son of Arthur William and Lydia Dixon. He was born about 1921 in Dungannon. The family lived at 1 Northland Row. Thomas joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. On 28th August 1941, Leading Aircraftman Thomas Dixon was part of a three man crew of a Botha aircraft (Serial No L6417). The aircraft took off from RAF Valley station on Anglesey in poor weather. The aircraft crashed into the sea. All three crew were lost along with eleven others who lost their lives in rescue attempts.
Further Information
Thomas Alexander Dixon was the youngest son of Arthur William and Lydia Dixon. Arthur Dixon and Lydia Alexander were married on 24th March 1913 in the district of Cookstown.
Thomas Alexander Dixon, was born about 1921 in Dungannon. The family lived at 1 Northland Row, Dungannon.
Known family: Arthur William Dixon, Lydia Dixon, Cecil Robert Dixon (born 8th February 1914), Edith Winnie Dixon (born 9th October 1915), Eileen Dixon (23rd December 1917), Thomas Alexander Dixon (born about 1921).
Thomas Dixon joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
On 28th August 1941, Leading Aircraftman Thomas Dixon was part of a three man crew of a Botha aircraft (Serial No L6417). The aircraft took off from RAF Valley station ORB.
Botha aircraft
About 11.00 hours, the aircraft, from No.4 Air Observers’ School, West Freugh, crashed into the sea, about 500 metres from the Coast at Rhosneigr (Grid Reference 1” O.S. Map, Sheet 41, VH 7695.), Rhosneigr lies on the west coast of Anglesey, off north west Wales. RAF Valley borders it.
The weather was very stormy, with wind gusting to 50–60 mph. with a tremendous sea running. The three man crew were in the sea close to the beach. Two of the airmen were washed away, but another managed to cling to the aircraft. The sea was too heavy for any of the numerous rescue launches and lifeboats to attempt a rescue of the crew, but repeated individual attempts to effect rescues were made by a large number of both service and civilian personnel who had gathered on the beach. A human chained was formed. The ferocity of the sea broke it, resulting in eleven people being lost.
Two 17-year-old boys set off in a boat, but they had not gone far when they were overturned. They succeeded in reaching the aircraft and persuaded the remaining Polish airman to let them help him towards the shore. Clinging to the upturned boat, they reached a beach defence post to which the Polish crewmen clung whilst the boys were washed ashore. A group of soldiers formed a human chain and managed to bring the boys back onshore, but the Polish airmen suffering from shock and exposure was swept from his holdfast.
Many individual acts of heroism were performed, but unfortunately the three members of the crew of the Botha were all drowned. The crew were: Sgt Rosiewicz, K.S., No.782028 (Polish) L.A.C. Dixon T.A. No.1119294, L.A.C. Glockler F.C. No.1376289.
In addition, no less than eleven others lost their lives in rescue attempts.
Leading Aircraftman Thomas Alexander Dixon’s remains were returned home and he was buried in Drumcoo Cemetery, Dungannon.
Thomas A Dixon gravestone
Thomas Alexander Dixon is commemorated locally on the Memorial window in St Anne’s Church in Dungannon and on Dungannon War Memorial.
There is a memorial plaque, the Blackburn Botha Disaster Memorial, in the village of Rhosneigr, near Rhosneigr Fire Station. It lists the fourteen men who died that day.
The CWGC record Leading Aircraftman Thomas Alexander Dixon as the son of Arthur W Dixon and Lydia Dixon of Dungannon.
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References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1911 Census lists Thomas' father Lists Arthur William as age 30 living at house 1 in Northland Terrace, Dungannon, Tyrone
2 Aviation Safety Network Details of crash
3 BBC - Tragic Drowning at RAF Valley Details of crash
4 Blackburn Botha Disaster Memorial Plaque Photo and details of plaque
5 FindAGrave.com Photo of Leading Aircraftman Thomas Dixon's gravestone
6 National Archives UK Official details of accident
7 RAF Commands - L5417 Details of crew and crash
8 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Leading Aircraftman Thomas Dixon's gravestone can be purchased here
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2021