Richard DIXON
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 266072
Unit: 9th battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 4 November 1918
Age: 31
Cemetery: Cross Road Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois, Nord, France

Richard's birth was registered at Stockport between April and June 1887. He was the son of James (who is believed to have died by 1918) and Anne.

He was reported to have enlisted in December 1914, originally into the 10th battalion, Cheshire Regiment. There is no record at the National Archives that he served abroad with the 10th Battalion. His above service number, which would not have been issued before January 1917, is consistent with him originally serving overseas with the local Territorial Battalion - the 6th Cheshires and transferring to the 9th at some later point.

By early November 1918, the German army was in its final retreat and was being engaged on a daily basis. On the 1st and 2nd of November, the 9th Battalion was part of this engagement  and, by the evening of the 2nd was at Sommaing, perhaps 30 kilometres north east of the French town of Cambrai. The next day, the Cheshires two leading companies pushed forward again, coming under fire from German machine guns near Jenlain. One platoon managed to force its way forward into Jenlain. This caused the Germans to withdraw. The Cheshires were then able to occupy positions on the edge of the village. The Regimental History records that "All these movements were carried out not only under hostile but also under friendly artillery fire".

The next day, the attack on Jenlain was resumed and there were, again, casualties from "friendly fire". The Regimental History continues "Realising that the right flank of the Division was exposed to enfilade fire from the southern portion of Wargnies-le-Grand, one of our company commanders mopped up the village and attacked and captured a machine gun nest as well as a number of prisoners."

Richard was one of 10 members of his Battalion to be killed on the 4th. A week later, the War was over.

Richard was not originally buried at Fontaine-au-Bois. He would have been buried very close to where he died - possibly at Eth British Cemetery, near Wargnies-le-Grand. This, and other small frontline cemeteries were closed after the Armistice as the land was returned to civilian use.

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