Private 42575 John Edwin Dodd

Dodd John Edwin 96 442x600Dodd John Edwin 96 400x600
Photograph courtesy of John Dodd's nieces, Mavis Hill and Sylvia Dodd.

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 23rd October 1918, age 21.
Buried in Grave I. A. 2. at Highland Cemetery, Le Cateau, Nord, France.

'B' Company of 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. 54th Brigade of 18th Division.
Formerly 61414 Lincolnshire Regiment.

Son of John and Mary Dodd, of 3, Harrold St., Toll End, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Birmingham, Enlisted: Lichfield, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, St. Mark's, and St. Luke's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/39832/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
7 Old Hall Buildings, Horseley Road, Tipton, Staffs.
John Dodd (36, Colliery Blacksmith, born Tipton), his wife Mary (34, born Sedgley), and their 3 sons: William J. (7, born Tipton), John Edwin (3, born Birmingham), and Percy (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
3 Harrold Street, Tipton, Staffs.
John Dodd (46, Shoeing and General Smith, born Tipton), his wife Mary (44, born Sedgley), and their 3 sons: William J. (17, Junior Clerk, born Tipton), John E. (13, Newsboy - part time, born Harborne), Percy (12, born Tipton), and Hilda K. (3, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/7/3d (3 pounds, 7 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his father, John, in February 1919. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was paid to his mother, Mary, in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted within the 12 months prior to his death.

John's mother, Mrs Mary Dodd, was awarded a Dependant's Pension of 10/6d (10 shillings and 6 pence) per week, effective from 1st July 1919.

John's relative Steve Dodd has shared 2 letters and given permission to share them on this page. Copies of the letters can be seem below, but are transcribed here.

The first, chronologically, is a letter from John to his younger brother Benjamin who would have been around 7 years of age. This would have been around August 1918 as the reference to influenza would have most liklely been about the first wave in July 1918.

Dear Benny,
I was pleased to receive a letter from you. I reckon you are a very good scholar to write such a nice letter. Try and get plenty of grubs for that duck you are fattening up ready for me, when I come home.
I thought you would have to be in the fashion and have the flu, but I am glad you are getting over it. So you have got a week’s holiday well I hope it fine every day so that you can play outside all the time. I saw a little boy like you in the country lane the other day while we were marching and he made me think about you.
Well Ben you want to get a big chap by the time I come, then I will show you how to be a soldier. I shall have to close now with best love to you, and you want to sleep in my bed and keep it warm till I come.
I remain
Your loving brother

The second letter is a commiseration letter from 2/Lt S.W. Goble to John's mother.

B. Company
2nd Battalion, the Bedfordshire Regiment
B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force)
Nov. 8th. 1918
Dear Mrs. Dodd
You will have heard by now of the death in action of your son with this battalion. I am writing to ask you to accept the sincere sympathy of myself and the Company in your great loss. Your son was so keen & so brave. Always cheerful & very popular with all.
He was killed on the morning of October 23rd during the attack on the enemy positions behind Le Cateau. It could be some small comfort to you to know he did not suffer.
We buried him near Le Cateau.
If there is anything else I can tell you please let me know.
Believe me to be
Yours sincerely
S. W. Goble 2nd. Lt .
B. Coy.

Sidney Walsingham Goble was born in Hackney in 1884. His father was a Provisions Merchant and Sidney joined him in the business after attending Merchant Taylor School. He enlisted as a Private with the 8th Royal Fusiliers and was commissioned on 31st July 1917, later winning the Military Cross. He survived the war, and after being de-mobilised in Feb 1919 re-joined the family company.

Action resulting in his death

John Dodd was serving with "B" Company, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment when it took over the front line north east of LE CATEAU on the evening of 20th October. The line ran along the RAILWAY EMBANKMENT from the RICHEMONT BROOK to the Level Crossing on the LE CATEAU -RICHEMONT ROAD. The intention was to carry out an attack on the enemy position opposite this front.

23rd October 1918:
"B" Company, South of the RICHEMONT BROOK, had encountered considerable opposition right at the start from enemy machine guns who were located inside our barrage. The Company was held up for some time and it was entirely due to the splendid leadership displayed by 2/Lt. H.B.LANG and other Officers and NCOs, who led the men forward in the face of intense machine gun fire and bayoneted the gunners, that the Company was got going again. The barrage had been lost but by sheer determination the Company fought its way forward, crossed the brook, and arrived on its final objective soon after its scheduled time. I consider the greatest credit due to 2/Lt. H.B.LANG and his Company for reaching their objective in spite of such strong opposition. A subsequent examination of the ground showed the hill both north and south of RICHEMONT MILL to have been very thickly held by a large number of light and heavy machine guns. By 5 a.m. all Companies were reported on their final objective.

1 Officer and 39 Other Ranks of the 2nd Bedfords were killed on the 23rd October, amongst them Private John Dodd. John is buried at Highland Cemetery, Le Cateau.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Mail 3rd December 1918
Private J.E. Dodd, Bedfordshire Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs Dodd of Harrold Street, Tipton, has been in France only a few weeks.

Tipton Herald 7th December 1918
The name of Private J.E. Dodd, Bedfordshire Regiment, a son of Mr and Mrs Dodd of Harrold Street, Toll End, Tipton, is included among the dead in casualty issued lists this week.

West Bromwich Free Press December 1918
Private J Dodd of the Bedfordshire Regiment is reported to have been killed in action on 23rd October in France. Mrs Dodd has received a letter from an officer of the company expressing the sympathy of his comrades in the loss she has sustained. Previous to enlisting, Private Dodd was employed by Messrs Chance and Hunt, Wednesbury. He has a brother, Percy Dodd, who is at present serving with the Sherwood Foresters.

Dodd John Edwin Letter to Brother
Letter from John to his younger brother Ben, undated but probably written around August 1918.

Dodd John Edwin Letter from Goble
Letter from 2/Lt Sidney Goble commiserating with John's mother, Mrs Mary Dodd. Dated November 8th, 1918.