Tributes paid to the world’s oldest firefighter

The Chief Fire Officer of Tyne and Wear has paid tribute to the world’s oldest retired firefighter after he sadly passed away.

Retired firefighter and World War Two veteran Joe Dixon sadly died on 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.


Joe celebrating his 109th birthday


Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS), has paid tribute to Joe.

He 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.”


An archive photograph of FF Dixon (second from right)


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.

Joe 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.

On Firefighter Dixon’s 100th birthday, staff at TWFRS reunited him with a ‘blast from the past’ at Service headquarters in Washington. When he was able to sit in the driver’s seat of a 1937 Leyland Cub fire engine, one of his first ever fire appliances. He was also presented with a specially engraved medal.

Up until the last few years, Joe regularly visited operational firefighters across the region to pass on his knowledge and expertise.

Joe’s family confirmed that he passed away peacefully on Thursday afternoon (19th January) at Scarborough Court in Cramlington, Northumberland.

Joe will be sadly missed by all of his family.

Firefighter Dixon – we salute you. What a legend.

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