John Patrick Dixon, a saturation diver commended for his actions in the recovery operation following the sinking of an Arbroath fishing vessel, has died.
Known as JP, John, 70, was one of three divers from the CSO Orelia who boarded the Westhaven after it sank in 1997.
The official report after the tragedy, which claimed the lives of four men, commended the divers for their “humane and brave” actions.
John had spent most of his career working in the Indian Ocean and North Sea before becoming a dive supervisor.
He was born in Perth in 1953, the son of Jimmy and Mary-Kate Dixon from Co. Mayo in Ireland.
His father worked for a building contractors and his mother worked on the biscuit counter a Woolworth’s in Perth.
John was educated at St John’s RC primary and then St Columba’s High School where he enjoyed art, ice hockey and photography.
When he left school he worked for the summer at Tay Salmon Fisheries with his brothers James and Martin.
He left Perth at 16 in 1969 to find his fortune in London and got a job cleaning in Lyon’s biscuit factory.
Return to Scotland
London life was hard going and he returned to Perth and got a job in Tay Textiles as a machinist before moving to LMS in Leonard Street, making contact lenses in the lab.
Between 1974 and 1977 he worked as a gas fitter with William Press, changing burners and valves on fires, cookers and boilers all around Scotland as part of the natural gas project.
He was a familiar sight driving around Perth on his Lambretta scooter and parka jacket.
John later went to Plymouth College of Art and Design to study photography where one of the modules was underwater photography.
During the summer break he worked at Wharton Williams in the dark room offshore. They offered to put him through his professional diver training which he undertook at the training centre in Fort William.
He worked with Wharton Williams until he went freelance, working in the Indian Ocean and then the North Sea.
The job entailed living in a six-man diving chamber for up to 28 days and often spending six hours a day working on the seabed.
John worked until his 50s, beyond the recommended age for divers and then became a dive supervisor, coordinating divers from a communications panel.
He was married twice; to Morag Livingston in Perth in 1981, and then to Charlotte (Charlie) Goodley in London in 1989.
From the early 1980s he lived in north London before moving to Hove in 2011 where he was a familiar sight on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He had a passion for he American brand after being captivated by the film Easy Rider and even met his hero and the film’s star, Peter Fonda, at a convention in the United States.
He also had a yacht moored at Brighton which he would sail to Ireland.
In 2012 John and Charlie moved to Dundee but sadly Charlie died two years later.
In retirement he loved nothing more than driving around Dundee and the east coast in his British Racing Green 1968 Corvette Stingray or his 1976 Pontiac Firebird.
He was a member of The East Coast Cruisers car club who would meet regularly in Arbroath.
John also liked to spend time in spent a lot of his time in Tickety Boo’s pub in Dundee, where he became a much-loved regular.
He is survived by his two sons Antony and Leon and his two granddaughters (to Leon) Millie and Sadie.
You can read the family’s announcement here.