Si Wheeler submitted the story of his great grandfather, Dixon Overfield, but it’s also a great example of the impact of war on all those connected to the soldier who served.
“Dixon was married to Margaret and they had a daughter Madge, born in 1915. Dixon enlisted in Filey in September 1916. He originally joined the Royal Field Artillery but soon got transferred to the 6th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment.
He was sent to France and saw action at Arras, before being moved to Belgium. Dixon survived this fight, but twelve days later he too was killed in action at the Battle of Poelcappelle on the 9th of October 1917 when a shell burst just above himself and several comrades. Their bodies were never recovered. Dixon is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Dixon’s wife died in 1924, leaving my grandmother, Madge, aged 9, an orphan. Raised by two aunts, then entering service at 13, Madge was taken under the wing of her housekeeper boss, Lizzie Andrew and became part of her extended family.
Aged 18, Madge moved to London to train as a nurse, working through the Blitz and marrying a Dunkirk evacuee soldier, my granddad, Harry Wheeler. Harry didn’t mind where they settled to start married life, so they moved to Swanland in East Yorkshire, where Lizzie lived. My parents live there to this day.”
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Joseph (third from left) was born around 1884 in Ainderby Steeple near Northallerton in North Yorkshire. He was the eldest of five children to Thomas and Amelia. He would eventually end up living at East Witton where he worked on the Jervaulx estate. He married Agnes Kendray and they would have three children. Joseph was a fine athlete as witnessed on Coronation Day June 22nd 1911. In the fell race to the top of Witton Fell and back Joseph came first. His exploits were published in the parish magazine. Joseph enlisted at Middleham joining the 7th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. The Battalion embarked for France on the 13th July 1915. It was during operations in February 1917 in an area of the Somme that heavy German artillery would take a heavy toll. A shell destroyed a cellar being used to house stretcher cases killing most of the men. One of those reported missing was Private Joseph Allen. His body was never found. Joseph’s name is commemorating on the Thiepval Memorial. A service was held at East Witton Church on the 3rd March. Tragically, one month after the service, Joseph’s widow Agnes died, aged 33, leaving three young orphans.
Howard Muckle a resident of Richmond for the last 50 years (via Corbridge and Newcastle) provided this story of his grandfather, Blackbird Baggott. Blackbird Baggott (named after his mother Jane Blackbird) joined the Hawke Battalion of the Royal Naval division in 1915 and served at Gallipoli as an infantryman between May and August that year. The British Royal Naval Division was made up of men from the Royal Navy and its reserve forces. These men, who were not needed at sea, fought on land alongside the Army during World War One. The records cover more than 50,000 officers and ratings who joined the Royal Naval Division or who passed through Crystal Palace, London when it was used as an initial training centre during the First World War. Blackbird was transferred to the Army Service Corps and then the Royal Flying Corps as a Fitter from 1916 to 1919. After being demobbed in 1920 he married and had two children but rejoined the RAF in 1923 (with service number 47402). He served with 1 Squadron, 55 Squadron in Iraq from 1926 – 28, and then 503 Squadron in the UK, with whom he was serving when he died in 1935. His death certificate stated Blackbird Baggott died of Malnutrition whilst based on a training camp at RAF Halton.
Submitted by Mavis Marwood a resident of Richmond for the last 10 years. Private Joseph Snowden Atkinson (204103) was my grandfather. He was born in Gainford and lived in Ravensworth. Like his father his occupation was as a stonemason. He served in France during the war and was one of the lucky soldiers to survive the conflict. One of the images is a handmade Christmas card that he sent from the front line to my mother when she was little girl. On his return to Ravensworth he went on to become a master stonemason.