Thomas Dickson was born on 1 January 1891 in Wishaw, Lanarkshire. He was the third of eight children and the eldest son of Archibald Dickson and Elizabeth Stevenson. Archibald was the brother of Livingston Russell Dickson, my father’s paternal grandfather. I have previously posted about Thomas’ cousin, Archibald Dickson who was killed in France in 1918.
Thomas was educated in Wishaw and on finishing school he began work as a clerk at a local distillery. The family lived at 49 West Academy Street in Wishaw which is now long gone and was on the site where Wishaw General Hospital is now located. He would have had a short walk to the Distillery office on Glasgow Road. I had been unaware that there had been a distillery in Wishaw. The Clydesdale Distillery was established in 1825 and eventually closed in 1919. At its peak, the company employed 40 people.
Thomas came from a long line of miners and I believe it was almost expected for the boys to follow in their father’s footsteps. Perhaps Thomas had shown academic potential and the family hoped for better things for their eldest boy. The Great War put an end to his hopes of an office career.
In December 1915 Thomas joined the Royal Naval Reserve. I have been unable to locate a photograph but on his enlistment form he is described as 5’9” tall with black hair, dark brown eyes and a fresh complexion.
It may be that he wished to enlist earlier but his mother, Elizabeth had been ill for some years. She died in June 1915.
Thomas was with Drake Battalion and had recently been promoted to Able Seaman when he was killed at sea on 24 December 1917. His body was never recovered and he is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial in France.