From left: Former Sherwood Forester Brian Jessop, ex-Royal Signaller Ron Dixon and David Rudkin, who served with the Parachute Regiment, laying a wreath at the Menin Gate in honour of Private William Davison, who died at the Battle of Passchendaele.
From left: Former Sherwood Forester Brian Jessop, ex-Royal Signaller Ron Dixon and David Rudkin, who served with the Parachute Regiment, laying a wreath at the Menin Gate in honour of Private William Davison, who died at the Battle of Passchendaele.

A veteran who was given a poppy commemorating a soldier who died in the first world war Battle of Passchendaele laid a wreath in his honour, and discovered their addresses were once just 800 yards apart.

Mr Ron Dixon, 85, of Shelley Close, Balderton, received a Passchendaele 100 Poppy pin badge — one of 60,083 produced for each British soldier who fell at Passchendaele, Belgium, 100 years ago.

The pin badge Mr Dixon received, from his grandsons, Nicky Ellwood, 37, and Luke Ellwood, 35, was in memory of  Private William Davison.

All Mr Dixon knew about him was the information that came with the pin badge — that he was with the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbys Regiment) and that he was commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

Mr Dixon is chairman of the Newark and Mansfield branches of the Royal Signals Association.

He had booked on to a tour with Emjay Tours, of Balderton, to visit the first world war memorials the Menin Gate at Ypres and Tyne Cot with former Sherwood Foresterer  Brian Jessop and David Rudkin, who was a Para.

They laid a wreath at the Menin Gate for Private Davison during one of the short services held at 8pm every night in front of others who attended from the Newark area and watching crowds.

“When I laid the wreath and looked at where we were I was so full up with emotion,” Mr Dixon said.

'It is quite a moving short service'

He later found out, after someone he knew did some research, that Private Davison lived at 10 Sherwood Avenue, Newark — not far from where Mr Dixon was born.

“I was born in Mount Square, which is around 800 yards from his house,” Mr Dixon said.

“I had a look in the phone book and there are still two Davisons in the Newark area.

“Maybe one of them is related to him?”

Mr Dixon was called up for National Service with the Royal Corps of Signals in 1950.

He spent two years as a technical storeman, serving at locations in the UK, including Shropshire and Yorkshire.

Among those watching at the Menin Gate was Mr Richard Moyses, Group Scout Leader with 6th Newark Sea Scouts.

He said: “It is quite a moving short service and it was an honour to stand and watch three of my holidaying friends and ex-Servicemen perform such an act in respect of the many fallen soldiers who gave so much for us.”

Mr Moyses, who was wearing his Sea Scout uniform, was approached by a group of Belgian Scouts, who were also in the crowd.

“After the ceremony, they came over to talk to me. The next thing I knew I was in their group photograph to mark the occasion of their visit to the Menin Gate, and the next 20 minutes were taken up by talking and shaking hands with all the Scouts and leaders,” Mr Moyses said.

“It was a memorable night in so many different ways that will remain with me forever.”