BAMBER BRIDGE IN WORLD WAR 1
(My thanks to Mark Dickinson, Billy’s grandson, for family information and permission to use the photograph.)
St Saviour’s Roll of Honour lists three men with the Dickinson surname: A P Dickinson, F J Dickinson and W P Dickinson. Adam Park Dickinson and Frederick John Dickinson are brothers and their cousin is William Park Dickinson.
680195 BDR. W. P. DICKINSON. R.F.A.
William Park Dickinson (Billy to the family) was born on 21 June 1896 and baptised at St Saviour’s on 12 July. His father was Albert Ernest Dickinson (b. 1870 in Bolton), a cotton weaver; and his mother was Annie Knowles (b. 1872 in Bamber Bridge). Albert’s family moved from Bolton to Bamber Bridge in the mid-1880s and he and Annie were married at St Saviour’s in 1893. They had three children though one died in infancy; the other child was Albert Ernest (jnr) (b. 1902). In 1911, the family lived at 27 Carr Street, Bamber Bridge.
Billy enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery and was assigned service number 2959, which was later changed to 681095. His 1917 service number falls within the range allocated to the 276th and 286th Brigades RFA but it is not in the same range as that assigned to the Briggers who enlisted in May 1915. His number appears in a batch of men who seem to have enlisted in Sep-Oct 1915 and these men were then dispersed among a range of different batteries, though some were in B/276. At some stage, Billy was promoted to Bombardier. It is impossible to know for certain what happened to Billy after he trained with the West Lancs RFA at home but the possibilities are:
he was posted overseas after the end of 1915 and joined 276th Brigade during 1916 (when he would have been 20 years old)
or he joined 286th Brigade who landed in France in February 1917 (when he would have been 21 years old)
or he was posted to a different Brigade altogether but if so we will never know.
Billy survived the War and returned to 27 Carr Street. In 1920, he married Lillian Hibbert (b. 1897 in Lostock Hall). He worked as a clerk for the Leyland Rubber works. Billy’s wife Lillian’s family was large and very complicated, but she was the step-sister of William Hibbert who died in Mesopotamia in 1916 while serving with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.
Unfortunately I have not been able to trace definitive documents to identify any information about Adam and Fred’s military service. Their father was Frederick John Dickinson (b. 1873 in Bolton), a twister in a cotton mill. Their mother was Mary Elizabeth Porter (b. 1875 in Preston). The couple were married at St Saviour’s in 1893 and Fred (jnr) was born later that year. Adam was born in 1895 and the couple had two other children: Christopher (1894-1917) and Elizabeth Jane (b. 1897). In 1911, the family lived at 4 Princess Street, Bamber Bridge.
After the War, Fred married Lily Derbyshire in 1932 and they lived at 389 Station Road, Bamber Bridge, and Fred worked as a plater/boiler maker, charge hand. He died in 1966.
Adam married immediately after he was demobilised, in 1919. His wife was Barbara Sharples (b. 1896 in Aughton, near Ormskirk). The couple lived at 26 Duke Street, Bamber Bridge, and Adam worked as a public service vehicle driver. He died in 1958.