John Frederick Dibblee 1918-2012 Index

John Frederick Dibblee

Son of Frederick Lewis Dibblee (junior)
My father - I am Joanna Edkins, writer of this website.

See also:
John Dibblee at Dunkirk
"Hats" by John Dibblee
"Loch Fyne" by John Dibblee
"Smoke" by John Dibblee
"Ties" by John Dibblee
"Handcuffs" by John Dibblee
Prisoner of War menu
Other POW documents
Staves and barrels (photographs)
John and Celia's wedding
Celia Dibblee's page (other website)

Signature of John Frederick Dibblee (1918-2012)
Signature of John Frederick Dibblee.

Modern dateTimeline
1 Oct 1918John Dibblee born at Southsea
1932John started education at Malvern College with a scholarship
1936John entered Royal Military Academy
1937Frederick Dibblee, John's father, dies
1938John commissioned as 2nd Lieu Royal Artillery
Joined 30th Field Regiment at Norwich
Oct 1939John embarked for France with his regiment
Jun 1940Retreat from Dunkirk
1941John was in Bombardment unit as Forward Observation Officer
1942John was captured at Dieppe and imprisoned in Germany:
Oflag VIIB Eichstatt Bavaria
Oflag IX AZ at Rotenburg am Fulda
1944Forced march from Rotenburg eastwards away from advancing American 1st Army, who overtook and liberated the prisoners. John was hospitalised with T.B. and malnutrition.
1946John married Celia Packe at St Mary le Strand London
1946John was passed as fit and posted to Lingfield to work with the 18th War Office Selection Board
1947Robin Dibblee, John and Celia's oldest son, was born
1947John was posted as Regimental Adjutant to Washington Durham
Regiment disbanded, so John was posted to Newcastle
1948The TB reoccurred, so John was invalided out of the Army with rank of Major
1950John and Celia settled in Sidcup.
1951Giles Dibblee, John and Celia's second son, was born. He died in 1952.
1952/3John started work for H&R Fowlers stave merchants.
1953Joanna Dibblee, John and Celia's daughter, was born
1963John started work as educational representative for Nisbet Publishers.
John and Celia moved to Lillington, Warks.
1983John retired. John and Celia moved to Cubbington, Warks.
Dec 2004John and Celia moved to Melbourn, Cambs, to be close to Robin and Joanna
Jul 2005Celia dies in Addenbrookes hospital, Cambridge
Mar 2012John died at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge


See the page for Celia Packe.

John Dibblee married Celia Elizabeth Packe at St Mary-le-Strand, London, in 1946. See John and Celia's wedding.

During World War II, Celia was working as a VAD, at Shaftsbury military hospital and other hospitals. The Voluntary Aid Detachment was a voluntary organisation providing field nursing services in hospitals and other places.

After John Dibblee was liberated as POW, he was found to have T.B., and was sent to the hospital where Celia was working. There is a family story that their first meeting was when Celia met this dashing young officer, in pyjamas with a tartan rug round his waist, playing golf in the hospital corridors using a ping pong ball and a German cavalry sword. Also that John got into trouble for making ice cream in the hospital fridge used for blood plasma.

See Celia Packe's wartime experiences and Celia's own wartime memoirs

Wedding photo of John and Celia


Robin Lewis Dibblee1947married Ruth Elizabeth Simpson in 1972
Giles Frederick Dibblee1951died in 1952
Joanna Elizabeth Dibblee1953married Laurence Keith Edkins in 1974


John Dibblee entered the army in 1938, expecting this to be his life-long career. The London Gazette of 26th August, 1938 says that he is in the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

His regiment was part of the retreat from Dunkirk in June 1940 - see John Dibblee at Dunkirk. There were then two years in Britain. As he said "Britain was madly busy training everybody in anything it could think of." He had several amusing anecdotes of this period - see Hats, Loch Fyne, Smoke and Ties.

He was part of the Dieppe raid. The raid took place on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 a.m. and by 10:50 a.m. the Allied commanders were forced to call a retreat. Many of the Allied troops were captured by the Germans, including John Dibblee. See Handcuffs for a description of the raid and the aftermath. John remained as POW, in Oflag VIIB Eichstatt Bavaria, then Oflag IX AZ at Rotenburg am Fulda. See POW documents and POW Christmas menu. Finally, after the Normandy landings, the Allied troops advanced on Germany. In 1944, the Germans marched the POWs away from the approaching American army, possibly for use as hostages, but the POWs were finally liberated. The POW documents include some photos of this march.

All freed POWs naturally had a health check, and John was found to have T.B. He went to Shaftesbury Hospital, which is where he met Celia Packe, who was working there as a VAD nurse. They married in 1946. John Dibblee was passed as fit for duty, and continued in the army for a bit, but his T.B. returned in 1948 and he was invalided out of the army.

He had two main jobs for the rest of his working life. From 1951 to 1962, he worked for H&R Fowlers, stave merchants, importing oak staves to make beer barrels. See Staves and barrels for some photographs of this time. Unfortunately beer barrels switched to being made of aluminium, and the company folded. In 1963, John started work for Nisbets as an educational representative. Nisbets were an educational publishers who published, among other books, Janet and John, a popular reading scheme. In 1983, John retired. Meanwhile Celia, a housewife for much of her life, decided on a new career in 1971. She trained as a Primary school teacher, and worked for several years until she too retired.

John and Celia spent much of their retirement years researching the family history of both their families, including visiting America to research the Dibblee family. Ceia died in 2005, and John in 2012. This website is based on their research, and is a memorial to them both.