war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War II



Surnames D

Davison, R. A.

Reginald Davison, courtesy Valerie Nice

Reginald (Reggie) Alvan Davison, 1258580, was an Aircraftman, 2nd Class, serving in 110 Squadron in the RAFVR

Born at 9 Bulwark Street, Dover, Reggie was the son of Jessie and William Davison, who had married at Holy Trinity Church on 25th February 1918. They were the landlord and landlady of The Green Beret, formerly The Royal  Arms, in Canada Road, Walmer, Deal. They also lived at 37 Bunn's Lane, Mill Hill, Middlesex

Reginald's brothers and father in the garden, courtesy Valerie Nice Reggie, with his mother, brother, grandmother, in the garden, courtesy Valerie Nice Reggie's brother Leslie,in his uniform, with  mother Jessie, in the garden, courtesy Valerie Nice
Victor, Leslie, and their
father, William
Jessie, two of her sons, Victor and Reggie, and her mother, Martha Leslie and his mother, Jessie

He had two brothers, Leslie Ronald, who served in the Army, and Victor Charles, who was a "Bevan Boy". They were the grandsons of Alfred Charles and Martha Ann Gatehouse (nee Howell), who lived at 13 The Ropewalk, Dover

Reginald's gravestone, courtesy Valerie NiceDuring the war, Reggie was stationed at Wattisham. He died in an accident; the Commanding Officer's letter to his father stated, "Your son was killed in the afternoon of Monday, 11th November, Reginald's parents, Jessie and William, courtesy Valerie Nice1940, while engaged in preparing aircraft for war operations; two of his comrades also lost their lives".

Reggie was 20. He is buried at St Catherine's Church, Ringshall, Wattisham, Suffolk. Row B

The words on his headstone read:

Yet in Spirit Meeting
Every Minute of Every Hour
of Every Day


Reggie's father, William, died in Deal in 1974, and his mother, Jessie, died in Folkestone, in 1978, while residing at a local rest home 

with thanks to Valerie Nice

In Memoriam, courtesy Dover Express
November 1941

We know not why death's frosty fingers touched a soul so sweet
The little story of that life was brief and incomplete,
And yet God cut that strong green stem that held youth's opening flower,
And left us only memories to fill each empty hour

Our dearly loved son

In ever loving memory of our dear brother

Les and Vic

The call was sudden, the blow severe,
To part with one we loved so dear;
Only those who have lost can tell
The bitter parting without farewell

Gran and Grandpa Gatehouse


"These laid the world away, poured out the red sweet wine of youth, gave up the years to be" are the words inscribed on the headstone next to Reggie's.

The headstone marks the grave of John Herbert Betts, the son of John William and Mary Ann Betts of Tooting, Surrey. Aircraftman Betts was 22 when he died alongside Reggie. The third person was Aircraftman Thomas Foster, who is buried at Elton (All Saints), Lancashire.

picture with thanks to Trevor Gibbons  

Day, E. F. B.    
Edward ("Eddie") Frank Bennett Day, D/SSX 27042, was a Signalman in the Royal Navy. On 17 September 1939 he was serving aboard HMS Courageous; this was his first ship since finishing training at Devonport and a ship on which an elder brother, Charlie, had also served. He had just finished a bath when a torpedo struck the Courageous; the lights went out and the ship listed heavily to port. Managing to get on deck, Eddie slid down the side into the water when the order was given to abandon ship, and aimed for one of the accompanying destroyers. Fortunately he was a very good swimmer - at school at St Mary's in 1933 and 1934 he had been a champion swimmer. He was in sea for 45 minutes before he was picked up.

Sadly Eddie was to lose his life, aged 20, a few months later, on 10 April 1940, when his then ship, HMS Hunter, sank during the first battle of Narvik. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. Panel 39, Column 2

He was the son of Tom and Emily Day, from Dover; his brother Charlie Day died just over a year later, shortly after having placed, with other brothers, an In Memoriam announcement "In loving and proud memory of our dear brother Eddie ... "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends". From his loving brothers Charlie, "Rosso", Jack, and Fred

His uncles Frank and Harry also placed an announcement "In loving memory of our dear nephew 

"Sleeping peacefully, leaving loving memories
To remember our whole lives through,
But those memories will linger for ever
Those memories, dear one, of you" 

Mrs Day lived at 183 Clarendon Street, the home of Eddie's aunt and uncle, and was evacuated to Kettering. She also placed an announcement; "In loving memory of my dear boy ... Loved by all who knew him. From Mum and Uncle Will".

Dixon, H. D.       
Herbert Dixon Dixon, 40809, was the son of Charles Dixon Dixon and Maggie Dixon, from Helston, Cornwall. Herbert was named after his grandfather, Herbert Dixon, who, with his wife Elizabeth, was killed during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.

Herbert survived an aircraft accident in May 1939, 23 or 24, when trying to land near Otterburn, Northumberland. The Lysander he was flying crashed on uneven ground. He then a member of 26 (Army Cooperation) Squadron and his unit were on detachment from Catterick in Yorkshire to take part in an artillery exercise over the Redesdale Range.

He died on Monday, 27th May 1940, as a Pilot Officer in the RAF, 26 Squadron. On the previous night Calais had fallen into enemy hands; British forces had been besieged and had relied on air drops for re-supply. On the morning of 27 May  the RAF sent aircraft to drop further supplies by air, not knowing the town had been overrun. Still unaware, more aircraft set out to drop ammunition and water into the Citadel on the western edge of Calais, in the belief that British troops were still there. Westland Lysanders from 26 Army Air Co-operation Squadron had set out across the English Channel from Lympne to conduct both reconnaissance and re-supply missions to the Citadel, but three of the squadron aircraft were shot down, with six crewmen being killed. One of the Lysanders lost was L4782 flown by Pilot Officer Herbert Dixon (pilot) and Leading Aircraftman Daniel Nimmo (air-gunner) who were conducting an armed reconnaissance. They crashed at 5:40 am near Sangatte.

Herbert Dixon is buried in Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, France. Plot 12, Row A, Grave 3 (below). At the foot of his headstone are the words, "One of the Few to whom we Many owe so much"  Next to him is buried Daniel McLellan Nimmo, 536679, aged 24. His parents were Daniel McLellan and Agnes Nimmo, of Bo'ness, West Lothian. At the foot of his headstone are inscribed the words, "To live in hearts he left behind is not to die".

Dixon HD headstone, by Simon ChambersHerbert Dixon's uncle, brother of Charles, was Thomas Benjamin Dixon. Born in China in 1886, he qualified as a medical doctor in 1909. He served in the RNVR during the Great War, being aboard HMS Kent during the battle of the Falkland Islands, about which he kept a diary later published under the title "The Enemy Fought Splendidly". In 1937 he became Honorary Physician to King George VI. During the Second World War he was Surgeon Captain, serving mainly in Dover, and became CBE in 1945. Dr Dixon died in 1960 at Bantham in Devon.

RAF information with thanks to Dean Sumner
1939 crash information with thanks to Jim Corbett
Herbert Dixon, courtesy Philip Dixon
Westland Lysander at RAF Museum, Hendon, by Dean Sumner

On the same day Herbert Dixon lost his life, a Hawker Hector serial K8116 from 613 'City of Manchester' Squadron crashed at 10:30 am on Shakespeare Cliff at Dover in fog after returning from bombing enemy artillery positions at Calais. Pilot Officer Kenkyns (pilot) was badly injured and Leading Aircraftman Reginald Brown (air-gunner) died of his injuries. He was 25, and is buried in Sidmouth Cemetery in Devon.

Dixon, R. J.      
Ronald James Dixon, 14887768, was a Signalman in the Royal Corps of Signals. He died when he was 22, on 19th September 1947. He is buried in the Kuala Lumpur (Cheras Road) Civil Cemetery, Malaysia. Grave 901

His parents were James F W Dixon and Hilda Dixon, from Dover

grave at Charlton, by Joyce Banks In Loving Memory Of
A Dear Wife
Hilda Dixon
Died 10th March 1963 Aged 64 years

Also Eldest Son
Ronald James Dixon
Royal Corps of Signals
Who Died at
Kuala Lumpar Malaya
17th Sept. 1947
Aged 23
A Loving Memory Left Behind
Also Of
James Frederick William Dixon
Husband of The Above
Died 30th August 1965. Aged 71 Years

photo and transcription, Joyce Banks

"Silent thoughts and loving memories of our dear son and brother ... who died as the result of an accident at Kuala Lumper" - 1949 -  Much loved and sadly missed by Mum, Dad and Dennis

Drury, J. E.
James Edward Drury, 2023869, was a Corporal in the 2nd battalion, Middlesex Regiment. He was 29 when he died on 31 May 1940. He is buried in Dunkirk Town Cemetery, France. Plot 2, Row 13, Grave 3

His parents were James and Sarah Mary Drury, and his wife was Daisy Drury, from Gosport,  Hampshire

This may be the Corporal J Drury who was reported missing since June 1940, and in late 1941 as being presumed as having died of wounds. His parents were Mr and Mrs J Drury, from 19 Lambton Road

Copyright 2006-18 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved