War Memorials in Sowerby, North Yorkshire

George Amos Dixon

15th April 1889 - February 1919 (age 29)

Able Seaman
Mercantile Marine

Amos Dixon was a shoe maker born in Kilburn, and in 1889 he was living at Thornton le Moor with his wife Mary Annie, a stocking knitter and wool dealer, and their baby son George Amos. A daughter Mary Enid, arrived in 1893 but sadly her mother Mary Annie died the following year on 3rd April 1894 aged 29 years. The funeral procession left Thornton le Moor for Kilburn where Mary Annie was interred. Amos remarried to Emily, they moved to Thirsk Market Place where he traded as a boot maker and repairer. The family increased by two sons, Robert Eric and Herbert Oswald and they moved to live at 3 Sowerby Terrace, while Amos continued to run the business in Thirsk Market Place.

According to family legend, George Amos Dixon ran away aged 16 to join the armed forces. Records show that when he joined the Royal Navy in 1905, he was 5 feet 3.5 inches tall with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. He gave his previous occupation as errand boy.

George Amos Dixon, a photograph from his family - in view of the youthful appearance this is likely to have been taken during his early years in the Royal Navy

Two years later, on 15th April 1907, the Royal Navy engaged George for a further twelve years. He was now 18 years of age and had reached 5 feet 6 inches in height. After 4 years on several ships, with spells in naval prison for minor offences, he found himself on HMS Cambrian sailing from Sri Lanka to Australia. When the ship docked Sydney he went on the run for 15 months before he resurfaced in 1911 when he joined the crew of HMS Penguin and was awarded 90 days in the cells. He spent time on other ships before he was discharged from the Royal Navy - "S.N.L.R." (Services No Longer Required) on 16th May 1912.

A photograph headed "HMS Minotaur" in possession of the Dixon family - George Amos Dixon is assumed to be one of the crew

George went to work at the shipyard in Hartlepool and he was there in 1914 at the time of the bombardment by enemy ships. A fellow worked was killed at his side. He then joined the merchant navy and was almost continuously on sea service and had some exciting times in the mercantile marine. Two vessels were sunk under him by torpedo and on the first occasion he was one of a party adrift in an open boat for three nights and three days and suffered greatly from exposure being half clad. On another occasion when he was at the wheel off the Irish coast, the bows of his vessel were carried away by another vessel in her effort to elude a submarine and he was highly commended for his ability in retaining control of his vessel.

George Amos Dixon - taken from his Mercantile Marine records

George Amos Dixon died at the Military Hospital Gravesend from pneumonia following influenza in February 1919. The influenza pandemic took more lives than the Great War - perhaps George's lungs had been weakened by his experiences at sea.

George's half brother Robert Eric Dixon is also named on the Sowerby memorial.

The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.

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