One of Northern Ireland's last World War II veterans who helped liberate a concentration camp has died at the age of 100.
Edward & # 39; Teddy & # 39; Dixon was born in New York, but his family moved to Belfast as a young child.
He served in the US Army as an infantryman in the 42nd Infantry Division & # 39; Rainbow & # 39 ;, received his draft notice in 1944 and helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp.
Edward & # 39; Teddy & # 39; Dixon (pictured left) was born in New York, but his family moved to Belfast as a young child. He and his unit landed in France in December 1944 (right picture)
He served in the US Army as an infantryman in the 42nd Infantry Division "Rainbow" and helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp (Mr. Dixon, pictured center with the weapon, arrest of SS guards)
Mr. Dixon and his unit landed in France in December 1944 before advancing across the continent to Germany in 1945.
Dachau concentration camp
- Dachau was a Nazi concentration camp that opened on March 22, 1933.
- It is located on the site of an abandoned ammunition factory near Dachau, northwest of Munich.
- There were 32,000 documented deaths in the camp and thousands that are not documented.
- The camp system grew to almost 100 sub-camps and the main camp was liberated by US forces on April 29, 1945.
He not only contributed to the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp near Munich, but also played a role in restoring a treasury of looted art that was kept in salt mines during the conflict.
US Consul General in Belfast Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau paid tribute, and local DUP Councilor David Brooks also tweeted a tribute.
Ms. Trudeau said: “We mourn New York-born Teddy Dixon who served in the US Army's 42nd Rainbow Infantry Division.
After relieving 33,000 people from the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp, he returned to East Belfast as a hero.
"We will remember his service and selfless heroism."
Mr. Brooks tweeted, “My generation will never know the abundance of debt we owe men like Teddy, who risked everything to defeat the Nazis. A hero. & # 39;
Mr Dixon's death comes less than a week after the death of his friend and war veteran Bill Eames of Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.
97-year-old Eames served as an RAF pilot and was involved in securing the Pegasus Bridge in 1944, among many other missions.
Mr Dixon was stationed near the Austrian village of Hallein in 1945 when he found the treasure in the mine shaft.
Mr. Dixon not only contributed to the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp near Munich, but also played a role in restoring a treasury of looted art that was kept in salt mines during the conflict
The 42nd Infantry & # 39; Rainbow & # 39; division
- The 42nd Infantry Division is a division of the U.S. Army's National Guard.
- The division served in World War I and World War II.
- It currently includes units of the Army National Guard from fourteen different states.
- When it was founded during World War I, a major said the division should include units from different states and that the organization "would stretch across the country like a rainbow".
- During the Second World War, German soldiers began to fear partition.
- Soldiers often joked that they were part of the "Rainbow SS" after a captured German soldier asked if they were "Roosevelt's SS".
He and the other men in his squad were told they were guarding German prisoners of war, the BBC reports.
These prisoners were actually sent to salvage art that had been looted by the Nazis and hidden in the local salt mine.
For two weeks they took the prisoners into the mine every day, loaded four small carts, and pushed them back up the rails to the mine head.
He said the suitcases were all stacked in the mine and stacked "neatly" around the walls and "wrapped in wood".
Military police loaded the art in trucks and brought it to Salzburg Castle for safe keeping.
UTV host and journalist Paul Clark said Northern Ireland has lost two brave men.
He described how he got to know both men very well over the years by telling their stories.
He said, “Because of Bill and Teddy – and their generation, people of my generation and others who came after me, they never had to go to war.
“We owe these gentlemen and their generation gratitude that we can never adequately repay. We forget this generation at our risk or we will repeat the past over and over again. & # 39;
He described both men as very humble and passionate about education.
Mr. Clark added, “They have usually been together at many memorial services because they were almost the last of this generation.
“What really impressed me about them was their passion for education. They made sure that every time they were invited to speak in a school or talk to young people they were very keen to accept so that they could listen and talk to the children who want to make sure that they are aware of the past. & # 39;
Securing the Pegasus Bridge in 1944
- During Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of northwestern Europe, the task was to take control of areas north of Caen and east of Sword Beach.
- They protected the eastern flank of the landing zone on D-Day.
- The first phase of the operation went according to plan. Three gliders landed near their destination: two bridges over the River Orne and the Caen Canal.
- The Caen Canal Swing Bridge, code-named Pegasus, was in British hands within ten minutes.
- This was D-Day's first engagement.
- The 6th Air Force had made a vital contribution to the success of Operation Overlord.
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