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Tales from the Western Front


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Ed Dixon was born in 1938 in the small town of Tillicoultry near Stirling in Central Scotland and was educated locally and at the University of Edinburgh. On first leaving school he worked for three years with the National Coal Board as an apprentice mining surveyor during which time he was stationed at various collieries in the area. Despite enjoying his spell in the coal industry, it became clear that a surveyor's life was not for him and so it was that he set off on the path to becoming a teacher. On completing a first degree at Edinburgh in 1963 Ed went off to the United States of America for four months. He toured around on a go-anywhere bus ticket covering most of the ground east of the Mississippi, including quite a while in the South. Returning to Scotland, he took a teaching qualification and after three years teaching English and History in a local secondary school he went back to the University of Edinburgh full-time to study for a postgraduate degree in North American Studies. After graduation Ed was employed for three years in adult education at Falkirk Technical College and then returned to school teaching where he remained until retiral in 1999 at the age of 61. During his employment in the classroom he was successively head of history in three local schools, culminating in a 21 year tenure at Grangemouth High School. On a personal level, the most important results of his time in education were meeting his wife, Janie, a PE teacher, and visiting the battlefields of both World Wars with the pupils. Beginning in 1981 at the behest of his colleague and great friend, Malcolm Maciver, these battlefield excursions became an annual event for Ed which have continued to this day even though the pupils no longer feature.

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