Newcastle 'hero' believed to be world's oldest retired firefighter dies aged 109

Joe Dixon received a special medal on his 100th birthday for his service. Credit: TWFRS

Tributes have been paid to a man believed to be the world's oldest retired firefighter who has died aged 109.

Joe Dixon served in Newcastle for 27 years before retiring in 1964. He also flew more than 24 missions during the Second World War when he joined the RAF's bomber command.

Chief fire officer from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) Chris Lowther said Mr Dixon was an "inspiration".

Mr Lowther said: "Joe Dixon was a credit to his family, friends, the community he served, and to everyone associated with the wider Fire Service.

"With almost three decades of service, Joe’s lasting legacy will ultimately act as an inspiration for the next generation of firefighters.

"Even at the age of 109, he continued to be an ambassador for the fire and rescue service and his dedication and devotion will live on for years to come.

"He was a friend, a firefighter, a hero. We will never forget the sacrifices he made for our communities."

Mr Dixon paid a visit to serving firefighters on his 105th birthday in 2019. Credit: TWFRS

The veteran regularly visited operational firefighters across the North East to offer his knowledge and expertise.

He was born in 1913 in Walker in the East End of Newcastle and starting working life at a butcher's shop before joining the fire service in 1937.

Mr Dixon rose through the ranks in what was then Newcastle City Police and Fire Service, eventually becoming a sub-officer before volunteering in 1943 to assist with the war effort.

He joined the RAF during the war and when it was over, re-joined the fire service.

Mr Dixon, second from the right, joined the service aged 24. Credit: TWFRS

Mr Dixon lived in Newcastle city centre's married quarters during his time in the fire service with his wife Lydia.

They raised two sons together, Robert and John, and had four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

On his 100th birthday, staff at TWFRS made special arrangements for their former colleague to sit in the driver's seat of a 1937 Leyland Cub fire engine - one of his first ever vehicles.

Mr Dixon was also presented with a specially engraved medal.

He was enjoying retirement in Scarborough Court care home in Cramlington, Northumberland, where he died on Thursday 19th January - two months after his 109th birthday.

TWFRS said: "Joe will be sadly missed by all of his family. Firefighter Dixon - we salute you. What a legend."

Mr Dixon, pictured here on his 109th birthday. Credit: TWFRS

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