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Boarding School, Breeches and Buzz Bombs

Longtime Fayette County Resident Richard Dixon Recalls his Youth in England During World War II

  • Stories I’ve Been Told A Monthly Feature by ELAINE THOMAS
    Stories I’ve Been Told A Monthly Feature by ELAINE THOMAS
  • At the age of 17, Richard began serving as a midshipman on the MV Eumaeus, a former liberty ship built by the U.S. in World War II. Traveling at a speed of about 10 knots (11 mph) it sailed from Glasgow to Malaya, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia, Borneo, Australia, Italy and then back to the United Kingdom. That marked Richard’s first year at sea.
    At the age of 17, Richard began serving as a midshipman on the MV Eumaeus, a former liberty ship built by the U.S. in World War II. Traveling at a speed of about 10 knots (11 mph) it sailed from Glasgow to Malaya, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia, Borneo, Australia, Italy and then back to the United Kingdom. That marked Richard’s first year at sea.
  • Fayette County’s Richard Dixon, who attended Christ’s Hospital in England, from 1941 to 1948, holds the Bible he received upon leaving the school to go to sea. The boarding school was located in “buzz-bomb alley,” not far from London, which was heavily assaulted by Germany during World War II.
    Fayette County’s Richard Dixon, who attended Christ’s Hospital in England, from 1941 to 1948, holds the Bible he received upon leaving the school to go to sea. The boarding school was located in “buzz-bomb alley,” not far from London, which was heavily assaulted by Germany during World War II.
  • Pictured at about 12 years of age, Richard Dixon was a pupil at Christ’s Hospital School in England. The plate on the shoulder of his uniform is the badge of Royal Mathematical School founded by King Charles II to teach boys the skill of navigation.
    Pictured at about 12 years of age, Richard Dixon was a pupil at Christ’s Hospital School in England. The plate on the shoulder of his uniform is the badge of Royal Mathematical School founded by King Charles II to teach boys the skill of navigation.
  • Although now co-educational, many of the centuries-old traditions at Christ’s Hospital endure. For example, the uniforms resemble those introduced centuries ago.
    Although now co-educational, many of the centuries-old traditions at Christ’s Hospital endure. For example, the uniforms resemble those introduced centuries ago.
  • In 2000, alumni of Middleton B House at Christ’s Hospital gathered. This reunion of Old Blues included Richard (third row from front, fourth from left) and his brother, James (front row, far left).
    In 2000, alumni of Middleton B House at Christ’s Hospital gathered. This reunion of Old Blues included Richard (third row from front, fourth from left) and his brother, James (front row, far left).
When the thin, nine-year-old boy reached up to give his mother a quick peck on the cheek, she hugged him tightly. Although she knew she must, she was reluctant to let her baby go. Richard Dixon then turned and shook his father’s hand. Hovering close by, his sister, Lizanne, offered an encouraging smile. “Ready?” asked his older brother, James. Richard nodded. The boys climbed onto the steam…

 

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