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Jack Dixon, and the rumour of his decapitation...

When i spoke to my first DNA contact within the Dixon family one of the first things they told me about Jack Dixon [1928-1968] (who i may be more directly related to than would initially be considered) was that he had been decapitated in a fatal road accident, in Surrey, in the late 1960's.

It is not in our immediate thoughts to question such things. In fact a quick turn up of the registers of deaths does indeed confirm his death.

I left that to lie for a while in favour of other tasks and research i wanted to do but the graphic nature of his death kept coming back as a question mark in my mind. I made a careful search of local newspapers which turned up nothing of this grisly death. I guess the question started to form in my mind that... was he really even killed in a car accident?

This is a prime case when, outside of a registry or death, we absolutely need a death certificate. I ordered one and it answered my questions.

Something also circumstantial worthy of mention which could have been a contributing factor. When i was scouring the newspapers at that time i came across several articles talking about really devastating flooding in the region.

In the linked article it states:

The flooding, which affected large parts of Surrey, occurred after the wettest summer since 1931.

As the inclement weather continued into September, by Sunday September 15, the rivers could take no more and rising water entered homes and shops and made roads and railways impassable. 

Guildford was the worst hit place, as water began seeping into homes and premises beside the River Wey near the town centre.

Yes he was killed in a car accident but there was no mention of decapitation.

The cause of death was as follows:

1a Haemothorax (collection of blood in the pleural space)
1b Fracture of ribs and pulmonary laceration (A pulmonary laceration is a chest injury in which lung tissue is torn or cut)

This poor man suffered a massive chest injury - which is what led to his death. No head injury was mentioned. I want to be clear that this is not to say it was neither grisly, nor traumatic, but to highlight a point about something that was touted throughout the branches that i spoke - that they had also heard. It is noteworthy also to note an inquest was held into his death. I am still a little surprised such an accident (collision with a bus) was not found in the local newspapers.

Incidentally he was killed, not far from Guildford, on the 20th. One could easily imagine that had the flooding not struck that year that a number of events could have seen him on the road (or not at all) at another place and another time... and alive perhaps even now. Such a tragic event.

So, to a point, it does beg the question... why was this what was stated when the family talked about this? Was it to make it more shocking (than it obviously already was)? Whilst we cannot realistically hope to answer that question we can at least clear it up. Sometimes all it takes is a detailed certificate.


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