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Dvr T. Dodd, 735730, Cheshire Bde, RFA


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Hello all.

Below is a small, heavily edited part of a much larger biography I am putting together regarding Driver Thomas Dodd, late of the Cheshire Bde, RFA. He was my grandfather and the biography is for his great grandchildren. The part below covers what I have been able to piece together (with generous help from Forum members I might add) of his wartime service. It will have to be fleshed out later with more detail, photos, etc, of course but I would like to know that the basic facts are more or less correct. I would appreciate someone with a bit of time and a sprinkle of knowledge to take a look and point out any (Ha! More correctly "the many") errors or oversights in time, place or accuracy.

Many thanks in advance.

Colin Affleck

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On 15 January, 1915 Thomas Dodd, like millions of others of the period, joined the Army. He was about 17 years old then. While not allowed to serve overseas until he turned 18 (in April 1915) he was allowed to join up and train at home in England until he came of age. Which he did.

Living in the vicinity of Chester, he naturally joined a local unit, probably together with a

bunch of his pals. The unit he chose, or perhaps was simply directed into, was the 3rd Battery

, the Cheshire Brigade, Royal

Field Artillery . His rank was Driver (in the infantry this would be Private) and his job

was to ride (Drive) the horses pulling the guns. Thus, he was "Dvr Dodd, 3 Bty (Cheshire) Bde,

RFA".

His artillery Bde, together with three others (the Ist, IInd and IIIrd (Welsh) artillery Bdes) made up what was called the Division Artillery. They were then attached to an infantry Division, the 53rd (Welsh) Division which from that point on would be their 'parent' Division.

This Division, having spent the back end of 1914 and the beginning of 1915 being trained and

equipped in the UK, was sent in early 1915 to Egypt but they left all their artillery, including Thomas Dodd and the Cheshire Bde, RFA back in England. In May of 1915, the Cheshire Bde was, like all the other artillery brigades then being formed, given a number and became the CCLXVII (Cheshire) Bde, RFA. Though still technically part of the 53rd (Welsh) Division which

was now in Egypt, Thomas Dodd’s artillery Bde was attached to another infantry Division, the 32nd, and arrived in France on 22 November 1915.

As a Field Artillery Driver he would have been very close to the front lines and a very

dangerous place that was.

But here it gets a bit fuzzy. We know that the artillery brigade of which Driver T. Dodd's was

part, the 267th (Cheshire) Bde, RFA, after some fighting in France, went off on 10 Feb 1916 to

rejoin their parent Division, the 53rd (Welsh) in Egypt. But we also know that Driver T. Dodd

did not go with them. He seems, in fact, to have disappeared from view for a short while. He

resurfaces later, however, in another and completely different unit, this being D Bty, 245th

(West Riding) Bde, RFA which was one of the RFA Bdes attached to the 49th (West Riding)

Division. What exactly caused him to be moved out of the Cheshire Bde before it left for Egypt

we do not know. At the end of 1915, around Christmas, following many battles and huge

casualties, the RFA was being greatly reorganized and the Batteries and Brigades were being

moved about and resubordinated everywhere. So, in that two and half month window (22 Nov

1915 to 10 Feb 1916), Thomas Dodd may have been loaned, borrowed or simply moved to

another RFA Brigade and Battery (Based on fair evidence, a good guess is D Bty, either the

168th and/or the 164th Bde, RFA, from where he later was moved once more at a later date).

Or yet again, he may have been wounded while still with 267th (Cheshire) Bde and sent to

hospital in France somewhere, to rejoin another RFA Bde when he recovered. We just don't

know. What we do know is that, wounded and recovered or just administratively moved, he

ended up later (probably in late 1916) in D Bty, 245th (IV West Riding) Bde, RFA, part of the

49th (West Riding) Division.

In 1917 (some evidence suggests 1918) Thomas was wounded (this may have been the second

time for him), certainly gassed, and possibly shot as well. He was sent up the long medical

evacuation chain from the trenches in France to finally end in a very small (30 bed) temporary

hospital in the village of Merstham, Surrey, in the south of England. The Red Cross detachment (Surrey 84) and

the local VAD (Volunteer Aid Detachment, kind of a volunteer civilian medical group) had got

the doctor for the town, a Dr Walter Weir, to become the Medical Officer for the new hospital

which was installed in a large, comfortable house called Chaldon Rise on Rockshal Road. How

long Thomas Dodd was there is unknown. However, considering that unless he was badly

wounded, he would not have been allowed to take a valuable bed space, (and in truth, in his

hospital photo, he does not look at all well) it is fairly safe to assume that when he was

discharged from the hospital, or perhaps shortly after, he was discharged from the Army as

well.

And so, on 27 April 1919, Driver T. Dodd, RFA (Service Number 735730)(3) became once

again a Mister.

Coincidently, the First World War ended shortly after.

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