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Artefact of the Month

A Fighter Pilot Of The Great War

Charles Herbert Dixon enlisted at the outbreak of the Great War and was commissioned at the age of 21 as a second lieutenant in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was wounded in the second battle of Ypres in April1915 but after recovering back in England, learnt to fly at a flying school in Hendon.

Promoted to lieutenant in October 1915, he joined a month later No 25 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, British Expeditionary Force and after the squadron arrived in France in February 1916 took part in many successful raids over enemy territory. On 1 August 1916, his aircraft was hit by ‘archie’ (enemy anti-aircraft fire) and his observer was wounded but five weeks later, flying a FE 2b scout (fighter aircraft), he shared the destruction of a German Fokker E.III with two other pilots. For this action, Dixon was awarded the Military Cross on 10 January 1917.

After completing a fighting instructor course at the Central Flying School, Upavon, he joined No 29 Squadron in November 1917 as commanding officer. At the time it was equipped with Nieuport 27s but later, in April 1918, with SE 5a scouts. In August 1918, Dixon brought down three enemy aircraft and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in the New Year’s Honours list.

After returning to the UK at the end of the war, he was transferred to Home Establishment and served at RAF Stations Tangmere and Shoreham, the latter as commanding officer. In July 1919, he was awarded the prestigious Belgian Croix de Guerre.

Major Charles Dixon MC DFC turned down a permanent commission and was released from the RAF in 1919. In civilian life, he joined the Imperial Tobacco Company becoming Chairman and Managing Director of its retail tobacconist chain. He died on 18 September 1950.

A NEW EXHIBITION ON MAJOR CHARLES DIXON MC DFC WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC ON 1 FEBRUARY 2014 FOLLOWING THE MUSEUM’S CLOSURE IN DECEMBER 2013 AND JANUARY 2014

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