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  • Courtesy of Richard Dillon's relatives Graham Denman and James Wood.
Person Details
He was the son of Richard John Dillon from Galway, Ireland. In 1874, Richard married Elizabeth Barnes at Nottingham, the city of her birth. The couple had ten children - Thomas (b.1876), Martin (1877), Mary (1880), Norah (1882), Richard (1883), John (1885), Patrick (1887), Joseph (1890), Francis (1892) and Charles (1896). In 1891, the family lived on Camden Street, Sneinton, Nottingham. By 1901, they had moved to 14, Nottingham Road and by 1911 to 14, Sunny Bank, Berry Hill (both Mansfield). With effect from 13/8/1918, Richard Dillon's next of kin, his father Richard John Dillon, received a weekly pension of 10/- (50p).
Richard Dillon jnr was a cotton bleacher in 1901 and a miner (hewer) by 1911.
11 Feb 1917
276123 - CWGC Website
23rd Bn (Tyneside Scottish) Northumberland Fusiliers
'On the night of 11th/12th (February 1917), noted 23rd Bn's war diarist, 'we carried out a raid against the enemy trenches S.E. of Armentieres. The raiding party consisted of 12 officers and 257 other ranks [divided into 4 parties]. Zero hour was fixed for 10.30pm. At zh, the parties rushed forward to their respective gaps in the enemy wire.' Richard Dillon was one of 17 Tyneside Scottish to die during this operation (at least 37 others were wounded) as raiding parties encountered ferocious German resistance. Brutal hand to hand fighting ensued and the diary records several acts of remarkable valour. Private Monmouth, for instance, 'showed great gallantry and devotion to duty and succeeded in carrying 2nd Lt Common safely from enemy trenches to our lines.' For a full account see 23rd (Tyneside Scottish) Battalion War Diary (TNA WO95/2463/2/2) Richard Dillon was evidently posted missing in the first instance, then presumed dead. His remains must later have been identified and buried in Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Grave Reference: IV E 37 Exhumation 'The end of the war left uncleared recent dead, isolated graves, and thousands of accidental burials. Exhumation companies had three objectives. The first was to concentrate an estimated 160,000 isolated graves; the second was to concentrate small cemeteries into larger ones; and the third was to locate and identify the missing, estimated at over half a million. Exhumation companies comprised squads of 32 men. Each squad was supplied with two pairs of rubber gloves, two shovels, stakes to mark the location of graves found, canvas and rope to tie up remains, stretchers, cresol (a poisonous colourless isomeric phenol) and wire cutters. A stake was placed where remains were found. For some, clearance and burial were amongst the most unpleasant and unpopular tasks of the war. One man recalled ‘for the first week or two I could scarcely endure the experiences we met with, but I gradually became hardened.’ Others seemed happy to volunteer for this grim task, determined to decently bury the fallen. Identification was the main psychological preoccupation of the bereaved. Corpses could only be identified by the accompanying effects, and remains found with such were very much in the minority. In April 1920 it was noted that of corpses found with effects, 20% were identified by identity discs; 25% were confirmed by discs; 30% were identified by other methods; with 25% unidentifiable. A name on a compass, a photograph case, a key tab, a spoon or a pipe bowl might reveal the owners name.' The above account has been extracted and adapted from an article by Peter Hodgkinson in the University of Birmingham's Journal of First World War Studies. For the full text, see https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/burial-clearance-and-burial/ Between 1921 and 1937, 38,036 allied soldiers were exhumed although many remained unidentified. For instance, only 30% of 11,977 headstones at Tyne Cot near Ypres, Britain's largest war cemetery, bear names. Most are inscribed 'Known Unto God' or 'A Soldier of the Great War'. Allied soldiers from the First World War continue to be discovered across the battlefields of France and Belgium. Identified or not, each is buried with full military honours.
Tyneside Scottish The Tyneside Scottish Brigade was formed from men from the Tyneside area of England and even though it was called a Scottish brigade, they accepted any nationality. The request to the War Office to form the brigade was originally turned down, but after a visit to Newcastle upon Tyne by Lord Haldane on 10 October 1915, permission was granted. The complete Tyneside Scottish Brigade of four battalions was raised by 16 November 1915. Reports of bodies of men and groups of miners marching ten miles into the city to enlist are common. The brigade's four battalions were known as the 1st to 4th Tyneside Scottish. When taken over by the British Army, these became battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers as the: • 20th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Scottish) • 21st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Tyneside Scottish) • 22nd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (3rd Tyneside Scottish) • 23rd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (4th Tyneside Scottish) Under the command of Brigadier-General T. P. B. Ternan, the Tyneside Scottish Brigade suffered the worst losses of any brigade on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme; the Tyneside Irish Brigade had the next worst tally of casualties. The 23rd (4th Tyneside Scottish) Battalion lost 629 men (19 officers and 610 other ranks), the third worst battalion loss of the day. The 20th (1st Tyneside Scottish) Battalion lost 584 men and the 22nd (3rd Tyneside Scottish) Battalion, led by Boer War veteran Lt Col Arthur Elphinstone (a former pupil of Monkton Combe School), lost 537 men. All four battalion commanders were killed (the 21st (2nd Tyneside Scottish) commander had been killed shortly before the battle). (Wikipedia) Research by David Nunn. Thanks to Richard Dillon's relative James Wood for this identification.
Remembered on


  • Courtesy of Richard Dillon's relatives Graham Denman and James Wood.
    Richard Dillon - Courtesy of Richard Dillon's relatives Graham Denman and James Wood.
  • Richard Dillon's Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone at Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres. Courtesy of Dillon's relatives Graham Denman and James Wood.
    Richard Dillon's CWGC headstone - Richard Dillon's Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone at Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres. Courtesy of Dillon's relatives Graham Denman and James Wood.