Tribute paid to Cramlington resident who was the world’s oldest firefighter
January 24, 2023
Tributes have been paid to the world’s oldest retired firefighter after he sadly passed away last week.
Retired firefighter and World War Two veteran Joe Dixon sadly died on Thursday (January 19th) just two months after celebrating his 109th birthday.
He was a distinguished and much loved member of the North East firefighting and emergency service community.
Joe served on the front line in Tyne and Wear for 27-years in what was formerly the Newcastle City Police and Fire Service before retiring back in 1964.
At 109-years-old, he was believed to be the world’s oldest firefighter and was enjoying retirement at Scarborough Court Care Home in Cramlington, Northumberland.
The Chief Fire Officer of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), Paul Hedley, paid tribute to Joe saying: “Mr Dixon was an amazing man with a wealth of experience and knowledge of the fire service.
“The service that he provided to his communities over his many years of public service is awe inspiring and we feel incredibly lucky to have had him as a Northumberland resident. “Having had the privilege of spending time with Joe, I know he will be sadly missed and long remembered by everyone who knew him.”
Joe was born in 1913, in Walker, in the East End of Newcastle. He started his working life in a local butcher’s shop before realising his dream job of becoming a firefighter in 1937. He worked his way up through the ranks and eventually became a sub-officer before volunteering alongside three of his firefighter colleagues in 1943 to assist with the war efforts.
During the Second World War, Joe served in the RAF Bomber Command as a flight engineer and flew over 24 missions and after its conclusion in 1945, he returned to working as a firefighter.
Throughout his time in the Fire Service, Joe lived in the Newcastle city centre married quarters at Pilgrim Street with his wife Lydia, where they raised their two sons Robert and John and enjoyed the company of four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Up until the last few years, Joe regularly visited operational firefighters across the region to pass on his knowledge and expertise.
Pictures show Joe Dixon during his working career (second from right) and celebrating his 109th birthday in Cramlington.
Photo credit: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service