- Surnames starting with the letter D. 

Herbert Dixon

Rank:Stoker 1Number:K/13251
Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:Royal Navy
Name of Rgt or Ship:H.M.S. Vanguard
How Died:Killed in Action
Country of burial:Lost at Sea
Cemetery or Memorial:Plymouth Naval Memorial
Town Memorial:Not Listed
Extra Information:
Born during the December quarter 1893 in the Prescot R.D. - ref: 8b/628,
the son of John William & Elizabeth Ann Dixon (nee Lord).

1901 Census - Railway Cottages, Much Woolton, Prescot, Lancashire.   Son -
aged: 7 - born: Woolton, Lancashire.   Head of household - John W. Dixon -
Married - aged: 39  - occ: Railway Signalman - born: Scarborough.  Also -
Elizabeth Dixon - Wife - aged: 39 - born: Lymm, Cheshire.   Plus 4 elder
siblings, including his elder brother - Robert Henry Dixon, who also served
in the Royal Navy and was drowned in May 1917.

1911 Census - Station Road, Partington.    Stepson - aged: 17 - occ:
Cutting Machine Paper Manufacturer - born: Hunts Cross, Lancashire.   Head
of household - Frederick Hembrough - Married - aged: 62 - occ Railway
Signalman - born: Hull, Yorkshire.   Also Elizabeth Hembrough - Wife
(Herbert's mother) - aged: 60 - born:Lymm, Cheshire.

His father who was born at Scarborough during the December quarter 1864,
died between 1901 and 1903 (unable to find a reference).   His mother
married Frederick Hembrough in 1905.   Post War his mother and her husband
resided in the Railway Cottages at Partington.

ADM 188 - Herbert enlisted into the Royal Navy on the 31st October 1911 - a
12 year signing.  Aged: 18, he was 5 feet 3 1/2 inches in height and had a
35 1/2 inch expanded chest measurement.  His hair was brown, his eyes -
grey and he had a 'fresh' complexion.  He was born on the 5th October 1893
in Liverpool.   His occupation given as - Paper Maker.

He served on Shore Establishment - HMS Vivid from the 31st  October 1911
until the 4th March 1912.  Then on HMS Argyll from 5th March 1912 to the
6th June 1913 , during which time he was promoted from 'Stoker 2nd Class'
to Stoker 1st Class'.   He served on HMS Victory from the 7th June 1913 to
the 18th July 1913, then moved back to HMS Vivid on the 19th July 1913
until the 12th August 1913.  Back to HMS Argyll on the 13th August until
the 16th March 1914.  Back to the Vivid again on the 17th March 1914 until
29th July 1914.   He was finally posted to HMS Vanguard on the 30th July
1914 until the 9th May 1916 when he spent 3 days in the cells (reason not
given).  Continued to serve on HMS Vanguard until it blew up on the 9th
July 1917.

From the Western Front Association website:- 

On the morning of 9 July 1917, HMS Vanguard undertook routine exercises
around Scapa Flow. The ship returned to its anchorage with the rest of the
fleet at about 6.30pm. At about 11.20pm witnesses reported:

... visible flame coming up from below just abaft the foremast, this being
followed, after a short interval, by a heavy explosion accompanied by a
very great increase of flame together with a very large quantity of
wreckage fragments thrown up abaft the foremast in the vicinity of "P" and
"Q" turrets. This explosion was followed after a short interval by a second
explosion which considerably increased the volume of flame and smoke (and
no doubt debris), but smoke had previously obscured the ship so that the
vicinity of this explosion could not be exactly located. The evidence,
however, points to it being just abaft the first one.

The cause of the explosion that ripped through the Vanguard was never
determined. One suggestion is that unstable cordite detonated in one of her
magazines, another is that a fire may have heated a bulkhead – and that
the heat was transferred through the bulkhead into the magazine, thus
igniting the cordite.

Whatever the cause, the explosion was spectacular, with one of her 12 inch
turrets being blown off and landing a mile away.

The HMS Vanguard blew up off the coast of Flotta, Orkney, killing more than
800 people. The island was showered with debris including a 400 ton 12 inch
gun turret. Burning debris from the ship set the heathland of Golta

3. sabotage

Of the three, sabotage is the least likely: no agency or individual has
ever claimed responsiblity; there has never been any evidence turn up in
support of the theory; and just as important is the fact that when she was
lost, Vanguard was one of the least modern ships in the Grand Fleet. The
security measures for her were no different than for the more recent
arrivals in Scap Flow. It stands to reason that any 'agent' with the
ability to destroy a Royal Navy capital ship would choose one of the more
powerful ones. 

Instead, the most likely cause was the second: a fire in an adjacent
compartment (coal bunker or patent fuel space) which smoldered away
undetected, long enough for some cordite near the adjoining bulkhead to
overheat to dangerous levels. 

Memorials found on:
St. Mary's (Partington)
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