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The Masterton draper kept from the war

Archie Dixon was the son of Charles Dixon and his wife Alice Herbert.

His medical badge certifying he was medically unfit for service.

He attended Masterton School [later Central School] where he was a keen sportsman and represented Wairarapa in national hockey tournaments.

After leaving school, he was employed at the drapery shop of C. Smith Ltd, who had a store on Queen St, now the Farmers building.

After leaving school, he also served in the Territorial Army and received training in various aspects of army life including the heavy machine gun.

On one occasion, he was one of 19 men who walked off a parade ground, as they considered their superior officer was not competent.

The officer was drawn from the Ambulance Corps and the men felt that there were more deserving men in their own company who should have been given the position.

Despite his military background and his keenness to serve his country, he was in for a shock when he resigned from C. Smith at the end of 1915 to enlist to with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

At his medical, it was decided that he was unfit for service.

He was issued with a distinctive badge and certificate to prove that he had tried to enlist but was not accepted.

Archie Dickson won awards for his skill at window displays.This made him a grandson of Charles and Mary Dixon, who were among the first European settlers in Masterton in 1854.

Dixon obviously keenly felt the disappointment of being unable to join his fellow soldiers as he kept the badge and certificate among his treasured possessions.

Ironically, given his health status, he continued to play sport but also became very interested in horticulture.

He won several awards after entering his gooseberries in the Masterton Horticultural and Industrial Society shows.

After the war, he went to work for the Wairarapa Farmer’s Cooperative Association (WFCA), next door to C. Smith.

Dixon won awards for his skill at window displays and would even design floats for WFCA entries in local parades.

He would also win prizes for crafts and upholstery in local shows.

In 1920 Dixon married Effie Rayner.

Sport continued to play a big part in his life, and by 1920 he was captain of the Wairarapa hockey team.

This was not the only sport that he played, with tennis, bowls and cricket other sports he engaged in.

In one cricket game against Carterton, Dixon took seven wickets for just one run.

All the clippings of the games he played in he kept in a scrapbook, his name frequently appearing as worthy of mention.

In 1933 Dixon left the WFCA to take up the position of manager at the drapery department of John Graham and Company Limited.

There he continued to show his flair for window dressing, and arranged several eye-catching displays.

Archie Dixon lived in Masterton for the rest of his life and died in 1968, at the age of 77.

– Mark Pacey


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