Daniel Stewart Thomas Bingham Dixon (1912 - 1995):
Dixon came from one of the most notable commercial-industrial and political families, not to say dynasties, of Ulster.
The first Lord Mayor of Belfast (as opposed to plain Mayor - Belfast had become a City in 1888 and another Royal Charter raised the Mayor's status accordingly in 1892) was his grandfather, a leading ship-owner and timber merchant, Daniel Dixon, for whom the first Dixon Baronetcy, of Ballymenock in the County of Antrim, was created in 1903. His eldest son, Sir Thomas Dixon, 2nd baronet, was a member of the Senate of Northern Ireland from 1924 until his death in 1950, a Northern Ireland Privy Councillor, High Sheriff of Antrim and of County Down and Lord Lieutenant of Belfast. His name is known internationally through the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, at Ballydrain just south of Belfast, and its annual international rose trials held at the Park's outstanding Rose Gardens. Another son was Herbert, like their father a highly successful businessman, who also served as both a Westminster and a Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament, was created the first Baron Glentoran, of Ballyalloly in Co Down, on July 8, 1939.
Daniel, the eldest son of Herbert, was born in Holywood, County Down, and educated at Eton and Sandhurst Royal Military Academy. He was commissioned in the Grenadier Guards, served in Egypt in the early 1930s and during the second world war he saw action in several theatres, firstly with the British Expeditionary Force in France, and then, following attachment to General Eisenhower's in Washington, at the time planning the Allied invasion of Italy, in that theatre, where he was second in command of his Regiment's 3rd battalion, and was mentioned in despatches. After service in Palestine, he retired from the army with the honorary rank of lieutenant-colonel in 1946.
He returned to Northern Ireland to the family timber business, Thomas S Dixon and Sons, and also ran the farm at Ballyalloly near Comber. On his father's death he became 2nd Baron Glentoran, and was elected to the Northern Ireland Parliament for Belfast Bloomfield, the seat his father had occupied since 1929. He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Commerce 1952-3, and then Minister of Commerce himself from 1953-1961. During this time, he was successful in attracting foreign investment to Northern Ireland, particularly from the United States, helping the Province's reasonably healthy economic situation in the 1960s. He was regarded as an efficient Minister and courteous, modest personality, though by no means a natural or enthusiastic canvasser. His success as a minister notwithstanding, in 1961 he retired from the Northern Ireland House of Commons and was elected to the Senate, where he was Speaker from 1964 until 1972 (he was the last to hold this post, as the Northern Ireland Parliament was prorogued that year - something to which he objected).
Outside politics, he was very much a rural man: a keen horseman, he had stables at Ballyalloly, and was never seen in Northern Ireland during Ascot week. He also had a fine collection of oil painting depicting horses, including one of King William III on his famous white horse - fitting for someone who was Master of an Orange Lodge, though perhaps less suitable for an Orangeman was that, when absent at Ascot, he was deputised for in the Senate chair by a Nationalist. At another home, Drumadarragh, Co Antrim, he kept a Blackface pedigree sheep flock; he was an acknowledged authority on sheep farming and won a number of awards. From 1950 until 1976 he was Her Majesty's Lieutenant for Belfast, and Lord-Lieutenant from 1976 until 1985., was active in a member of the Belfast Water Commissioners as Chairman of the Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops.
Daniel, Baron Glentoran, was appointed to the Privy Council of Northern Ireland and appointed KBE in 1953 and was an Honorary Colonel in the 6th battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles. He succeeded also to the Dixon baronetcy as his father Herbert had succeeded to it on the death of Sir Thomas, Daniel's uncle. The peerage and the baronetcy were assumed by his son, whose mother was a descendant of the Duke of Wellington, and who became an Olympic bobsleigh gold medal winner in 1964.
|Born:||19 January 1912|
|Died:||22 January 1995|
© 2022 Ulster History Circle