2130 Corporal Herbert Dixon, 5th battalion, Border Regiment died of wounds 4 October 1915 and is buried at Houplines Communal Cemetery Extension, France.[1]  He was 32 years old and is commemorated on the Evenwood War Memorial.  He left a wife, Rose and two sons Tom and Cresswell.

Family Details

 Herbert Dixon was born in 1883[2] at Workington, Cumberland to Tom and Jane Dixon.  There were 4 children, all born at Workington:

  • Sarah bc.1882
  • Herbert bc.1884
  • Frederick bc.1889
  • Edith bc. 1893

In 1901 the family lived at Workington, Cumberland where 46 year old Tom worked as a boilersmith.  17 year old Herbert was a house painter.[3]  By 1911, Herbert Dixon was boarding with Benjamin W. Oldfield a 32 year old widower who lived with his 60 year old mother, Elizabeth, and 23 year old sister Rose at Evenwood. [4]  In 1911, Herbert married Rose Oldfield. [5] By 1914, they lived at 13 Shirley Terrace, Evenwood.  He worked at Randolph Colliery as a painter having previously worked for a Mr. Handley.[6] They had 2 sons, Thomas and Cresswell.

Service Details

 Herbert Dixon enlisted at Workington into the Territorial Force serving with the 5th Battalion, Border Regiment, being allocated the regimental number 2130. [7]  Corporal Herbert Dixon soldier entered France 26 October 1914.[8]  His service record has not been researched.

The 5th (Cumberland) Battalion were formed in Carlisle in August 1914 and attached to the East Lancashire Division.  26 October 1914, the battalion landed at Le Havre thenceforth moved to the lines of communication.  The Official History of the war mentions that it was attached to the Jullundur Brigade, Lahore Division.  Between 5 May and 20 December 1915, the battalion came under the orders of the 149th Brigade, 50th Division [9] together with the following battalions: [10]

  • 1/4th Bn., the Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 1/5th Bn., the Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 1/6th Bn., the Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 1/7th Bn., the Northumberland Fusiliers

In December 1915, the 5th Border Regiment was transferred to the 151st Brigade, 50th Division.

The War Diary of the 5th Border Regiment contains the following reports: [11]

“October 1st

O.C. Trench 77 reports German patrol in the ditch where their other patrol was annihilated. Is of opinion that the bodies are being left there by the Germans in the hope of catching our men going to them.

75 Trench nothing to report. Moon too bright for patrols. O.C. Trench 76 (Capt. Webb) reports our howitzers blew in part of enemy’s parapet opposite bay 3. Our machine gun was trained on the gap during the night.


O.C. Trench 77 reports that the enemy fired 20 “Whizzbangs” into his trench between 11 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. yesterday. Part of the parapet blown in but no material damage done. O.C. Trench 76 reports that 3 p.m. yesterday one of the enemy’s sentries was seen to be wearing a green soft hat, opposite Bay 10.


Nothing to report.


O.C. 77 trench reports everything quiet. A piece of white paper was on a stick near the German bodies. This was shot off by one of our snipers.

O.C. 75 Trench reports night quiet. Enemy’s snipers are many and accurate opposite this trench.

On the night of 4/10/15 clean shirts and socks were received from PONT de NIEPPE baths for the whole Battalion in the trenches.


O.C. 75 trench has nothing special to report, except that enemy’s sniping continues particularly accurate.

Rifles are fixed on parapets &c by day and accurate shooting takes place at night.

O.C. 76 reports enemy very quiet.

O.C. 77 ditto.”

4 October 1915:  Enemy sniper action was reported on the day when Corporal H. Dixon died.    The War Diary contains no record of casualties for the first week of October 1915.  Later research records that between 1 and 7 October 1915, 5/Border Regiment lost XX Officers and XX Other Ranks killed in action or died of wounds. [12]

The battalion was in the Armentieres area at the time of the 1915 autumn offensive which became known as the Battle of Loos.  Although the 5th Borders were not involved in the order of battle, subsidiary operations took place to the immediate south of the Armentieres area at Bois Grenier, 25 September 1915.  Fighting also took place to the north in the vicinity of Ypres at Bellewaarde Ridge and Hooge.  There can be little doubt that hostilities were rife along the whole British sector of the western front during late September and early October 1915.  Artillery bombardment, machine gun and sniper fire were all part of the daily routine and casualties were inevitable.  Unfortunately, Corporal Herbert Dixon was one of those casualties.

Report of his Death

Corporal H. Dixon’s death was reported in the Evenwood Church Magazine: [13]

“Worst of all however, is the case of Herbert Dixon son-in-law of Mrs. Oldfield of Shirley Terrace.  I suppose we all remember Herbert who used to be employed by Mr. Handley and afterwards by the Colliery Co., as a painter.  He was killed on October 4th.  Mrs. Oldfield allows me to reproduce here two letters received by his wife.

“Dear Mrs. Dixon, it is with regret that I have to inform you of the death of your husband, Corpl. H. Dixon, 5th Batt. the Border Regiment.  He died of wounds received from a German sniper about 8.30 yesterday evening (Oct 4).  He lived about two hours after he was hit but never regained consciousness and did not suffer any pain.  He was buried this evening about half-a-mile behind the firing line and the Funeral Service was read by the Brigade Chaplain; several N.C.O.’s and men attended to see the last of their brave comrade.  We all sympathise deeply with you in your loss.”

R. Hayson Sergt-Major 5th Batt. Border Regiment

The second letter ran:

“Dear Mrs. Dixon – It is with deep regret that I have to inform you of your husband’s death while on duty in the trenches.  He was practically killed instantly, as he expired shortly after never regaining consciousness from the time he was hit.  On behalf of the members of 5th Company I tender their deepest sympathy in the great loss you have sustained, which is ours as well, as he was respected by all he came in contact with and was always careful in his duties.  He was buried in Houplines Cemetery near Armentieres, beside his other fallen comrades of the battalion.”

                                                                                           Edward D. Birnie, C.Q-M. Sergt.[14]

Mrs. Dixon also received two other letters from members of the battalion containing very much the same particulars and testifying to the esteem in which Herbert was held among his comrades.  Such sacrifices here can only mean a glorious renewal in the great army beyond.” 

Corporal H. Dixon was the first confirmed Evenwood fatality to be reported.  In the same edition of the Church Magazine, Serjeant E. Towers, 15/DLI was reported as “missing” following the first day of the Battle of Loss 25 September 1915.  He was later confirmed “presumed dead” due to the passage of time.

 The “Old Contemptibles” [15]

 19 August 1914:  The Order of the Day given by Kaiser Wilhelm II:

“It is my Royal and Imperial Command that you concentrate your energies for the immediate present upon one single purpose and that is that you address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first the treacherous English; walk over General French’s contemptible little Army.”

The precise translation had been debated endlessly but regardless the title of the “Old Contemptibles” was proudly adopted by the men of the British Expeditionary Force who saw service before or on 22 November 1914.  Most were regular soldiers or reservists.  Corporal Herbert Dixon entered France 26 October 1914, was awarded the 1914 Star and would have been regarded as one of the “Old Contemptibles”.

Corporal H. Dixon was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War and Victory medals.


 Corporal H. Dixon is buried at grave reference II. F. 25 Houplines Communal Cemetery Extension.  The town of Houplines is to the east of Armentieres in Nord region of France adjacent to the Belgian border.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837 – 1915 Vol.10b p.576 Cockermouth, Cumberland 1883 Q2

[3] 1901 census

[4] 1911 census

[5] England & Wales Marriage Index 1837 – 1915 Vol.10a p.464 Auckland 1911 Q2

[6] Evenwood Church Magazine November 1915

[7] Soldiers Died in the Great Wat

[8] Medal Roll

[9] http://www.1914-1918.net/border.htm

[10] http://www.1914-1918.net/50div.htm

[11] The War Diary 5th Border Regiment

[12] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[13] Evenwood Church Magazine November 1915

[14] Captain Edward D’Arcy Birnie DSO, MC 8th Battalion Border Regiment died 23 March 1918 aged 26 years.  He is buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, near Albert, Somme, France.

[15]  “The Great War: a history” F.A. Mumby et al. Vol. IV p193-199


DIXON H. Photo


DIXON H. Medal Roll

Medal Roll


1 October 2017
Barbara Gill visiting Herbert Dixon
[great uncle]