Remembering the men from the Kingsdown and Creekside Cluster
who gave their lives in the First World War
On the centenary of their death, we remember
MacDonald Dixon (of Lynsted)
d. 3rd May 1917. Aged 31 years.
Attached to 7th (Service) Battalion
The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
from the Royal East Kent Yeomanry
(The Duke of Connaught’s Own) (Mounted Rifles)
Remembered with Honour
Arras Memorial, Faubourg-D'Amiens Cemetery
Killed in Action
Born in Cambridge Farm, Cambridge Lane, Lynsted in early 1886, MacDonald was the youngest child of William Roper Dixon JP, a farmer and employer, originally from Blackfriars, and Sarah Agnes Dixon (née Gillow) originally from Ospringe. His elder siblings were Bridges Richard (note 1), Roper Gillow (note 2), Mary (note 3) and Frederick (note 4). Both Mary and Frederick predeceased MacDonald.
1. Bridges Richard Dixon was born in 1875 and christened in Teynham Church on 21 October. Banns for his marriage to Janet Isabella Stewart Wood of Tonge were read at Lynsted Church before their marriage in Milton Church in 1903. They had 3 children before being widowed in early 1920. Bridges died aged 62 and was buried in Teynham Churchyard on 22 November 1937.
2. Roger Gillow Dixon was born in 1874 and died in 1948 at the age of 72. He was buried in Teynham Churchyard on 11 September 1948.
3. Mary Dixon was born in 1887 and was christened in Teynham Church on 8 October. She was died aged 34 and was buried in Teynham Churchyard on 22 December 1911.
4. Frederick Dixon was born in 1882 and christened on 22 June. He died in 1894 aged 12.
Between 1881 and 1911 the Dixon’s employed a number of local people as companions, housemaids and cooks. These included Beatrice Norman, Mary Lewis, Fanny Barnet Crean, Louise Jane Bure, Edith Nankevill, Alexander Nichols, Annie Alice Nichols, Emma Kite and Emma Milliner.
Just before the outbreak of war, in July 1914, MacDonald, who was employed as a land agents clerk, married Belinda Minter at Goodnestone Church. The marriage was reported in the South Eastern Gazette on 3 October 1914:
LYNSTED - WEDDING of Mr. M. DIXON.
The wedding took place on Thursday last week, at Goodnestone Church, near Faversham, of Belinda (Queenie) Minter, only daughter of Mr and Mrs T. Minter, of Langdon Court, Faversham, and Mr MacDonald Dixon, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. W Roper Dixon, of Cambridge, Lynsted. The church was beautifully decorated for the occasion, and the Rev. W. Waite, vicar of the parish, officiated. The choir was in attendance, Miss Jessie Minter, cousin of the bride, being at the harmonium. The bride wore a dress of cream Carmeuse trimmed with lace and orange blossom, and a veil of Honiton lace which was lent by the bridegroom’s mother. The bride wore a gold watch bracelet, and she carried a bouquet of white roses and lilies of the valley, the gifts of the bridegroom. The bridesmaids were the Misses Miles and Clinch, and they wore dresses of grey satin and cloaks lined with primrose satin, with striped velvet hats to match. They also wore gold safety pins, and carried bouquets of yellow chrysanthemums, the gifts of the bridegroom. Mr Murton Minter, brother of the bride, acted as “best man”. After the ceremony a reception was held at the residence of the bride’s parent, and subsequently the newly married couple left by motor en-route for Eastbourne, where the honeymoon is being spent. They were the recipients of over a hundred presents.
MacDonald and Belinda started their married life in Gazes Hill, Sittingbourne and in 1916 a baby daughter, Margaret Roper, arrived.
MacDonald’s service records are not available, but we do know that he enlisted in Sittingbourne in February 1916, originally in the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles, but on attachment to 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). It is unclear as to when he joined the Buffs, but the background of the months prior to his death are recorded in the previous biography of Stanley Monckton Cleaver who also served in both the Royal East Kent Yeomanry and 7th Buffs, and was killed on the same day.
MacDonald was posted as “wounded and missing” on 3 May 1917. At some time after that it was recorded that on that date he was considered “killed in action” on 3 May. Possibly at the same time as Stanley Monckton Cleaver’s death was re-registered as “died of wounds”, on 26 October 1917.
Initially the casualty list noted 2 officers killed, 6 wounded and 4 missing; 25 other ranks killed, 169 wounded and 174 missing. It was eventually recorded that 125 men of 7th (Service) Battalion The Buffs lost their lives on 3 May 1917. Of the 125 men lost only 4 have known graves. The others, as well as MacDonald, are all listed together on Bay 2 of the Arras Memorial.
The Lynsted Memorial records MacDonald as serving in the Royal East Kent Yeomanry. He is also remembered on the Murston Memorial where he is recorded as being in the Buffs.
MacDonald was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medals.
His wife, Belinda, never remarried and remained in Lynsted where she played an active part in the Parish, in particular as clerk to the Parochial Church Council. At the time of her death in the Kent and Canterbury Hospital on 4 February 1966, aged 78, she was living at Well Cottage in Cellar Hill. MacDonald’s daughter Margaret (Peggy) died on 30 June 2009 aged 93. Margaret was still living at Cambridge Farm and was active in the community, including being in charge of the delivery of the monthly Kingsdown, Lynsted and Norton Parish newsletter to the residents of Cambridge Lane until just before her death. While researching the family papers of Malcolm Dalton, commemorated earlier in this book, a note was found talking of how his niece would come to visit “Peggy” and during the winter they would skate on the frozen duck pond at Cambridge Farm.
The Society is indebted to Lucy Grayson and Kate Stew, MacDonald’s great, great nieces, for their assistance in recording his life and for use of his portrait photograph.
Thursday 3 May 1917 saw the heaviest casualties for Lynsted when 5 men were lost at the Third Battle of the Scarpe.
The stories of these 5 men follow similar paths. Amos Brown and Reginald Weaver both served in 6th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Stanley Cleaver and MacDonald Dixon served in both the Royal East Kent Yeomanry (The Duke of Connaught’s Own) (Mounted Rifles) and 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). William Gambrill served in both Royal East Kent Yeomanry (The Duke of Connaught’s Own) (Mounted Rifles) and the Household Battalion, Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line, alongside Henry Carrier who was lost 8 days later on on 11 May 1917.
Three more men were lost that day from the Creekside Cluster. Harry Filmer, lost from Newnham, served in the 1st (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). William Henry Laker, lost from Teynham, served alongside Stanley Cleaver and MacDonald Dixon serving in 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). George Potts, also lost from Teynham, served alongside Amos Brown and Reginald Weaver, 6th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).
Six of these eight men fell without a known grave and are recorded in Bay 2 of the Arras Memorial alongside 242 other men from The Buffs who perished that day. They are Amos John Brown, Stanley Monkton Cleaver, MacDonald Dixon, William Henry Laker, George Potts and Reginald Douglas Weaver.