Alfred Charles Dodson

Alfred Charles Dodson
Born at Swavesey in 1885, Alfred was the eldest of two sons and two daughters born to John, a foreman scavenger, and Sophia (née Kilsby). By 1911 the family had moved to Crown Walk, St Ives. Alfred worked as a newsagent errand boy. In 1916 he married Ada Reeves in Coventry.

Alfred was a career soldier and joined the Bedfordshire Regiment some time before 1911. He served in Egypt, India and South Africa before finding himself in the thick of WWI. Alfred was injured several times, after each returning to the fighting. He was reported in the Hunts Post 28 May 1915 writing to his parents in a fairly positive mood in spite of a nasty leg wound. He took almost two years in hospital before he recovered and was back at the Front.
The Hundred Day Offensive
British soldiers occupying an old German line, August 1918, as German wounded and prisoners pass
At some point Alfred was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment and promoted to Lance Corporal. The Hundred Days Offensive was the final period of WWI. Between August and November 1918 the Allies launched a series of rapid victories which finally pushed the Germans out of France.

On 14 August 1918 Alfred's Company 'passed a quiet day', according to the war diary. Even a quiet day in the front trenches was extremely dangerous. Ten of Alfred's Company were wounded and one killed. Later that day they were relieved and moved to billets in Busnettes.

The Company spent the following day in inspections and cleaning up. Subject to German artillery fire including gas shells, the Company continued to suffer casualties. One was from gas poisoning and three other ranks were taken to a field ambulance. One of these was Alfred, wounded in the stomach from shrapnel.

Alfred must have died within a few hours. Such was the confusion on the battlefield, he was initially recorded as missing, reported in the Hunts Post of 20 Sep 1918. Ultimately declared killed in action on Thursday 15 August 1918 aged 32yrs, Alfred has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France. His name also appears on Swavesey War Memorial.

Alfred's younger brother Sidney also fought in WWI and was injured, reported on 15 Sep 1916. He also returned to fighting and was again wounded, reported on  27 Oct 1916.

Do you have a photograph of Alfred, or any additional information? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census
War diary, 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate

No comments:

Post a Comment