University of Oxford
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Joseph Raine Dickson, air gunner and POW

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 18:03 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Joseph was born in Liverpool on 23 February 1923. Although he worked in a reserved occupation as a stoker on the railway at Lime Street, he volunteered for the Royal Air Force in 1943 and was posted as an air gunner to 49 Squadron, which was largely Australian. On 7 March 1945, his aircraft was shot down on his 13th mission. Many crew members were killed but Joseph survived, becoming a prisoner-of-war until he was liberated on 4 May 1945.

After the war, he went to work in the fuse-gear section of a large electrical engineering factory in the outskirts of Liverpool. He married his wife on the 8th of March 1948. He ended his working life in the Civil Service. He relocated to a town in Cheshire and died in 1976. He talked very little about his war experiences but did let his children look through his diary with him.

The contributor brought Joseph's diary written after the war about his experiences as a POW. It describes events in detail, including suffering injury due to walking bare-footed. He was moved between different POW camps and ended up in a hospital unit in Bavaria. It recounts an incident around 14 April when, after vacating a POW camp, the POWs were strafed by an aircraft and many were killed or injured. The contributor remembers her father talking about this incident. It also includes a newspaper cutting which gives a very graphic account. There is also what appears to be the initial draft of the diary, eventually developed into the more comprehensive account. It is not known when this was written.


Item list and details

1. Diary written after the war by Joseph of his time as a POW. 2. Diary draft 3. ID tag issued by the prisoner-of-war camp in Germany, 7B, Eichstadt, the POW camp from which he was liberated 4. Various papers, including an Australian newspaper from the town where the pilot lived and a letter from the mother of the pilot Object 352 - Service and Release Book which indicates he served until 6th March 1947 5. Photocopy of a photograph of the crew of his Lancaster 6. Various photographs, including war cemeteries

Person the story/items relate to

Joseph Raine Dickson

Person who shared the story/items

Sandra Josephine Fairhurst

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Oxfordshire on 1 April 2023.

Record ID

91960 | WOO017