DODD, William

No.26612, Private, William DODD
Aged 20

14th (Service) Battalion (1st Portsmouth), Hampshire Regiment
formerly No. 23887, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Tues, 31st July 1917

William Dodd was born in 1898 in Ashley cum Silverley (Newmarket Q3-1898 3B:505), son of John and Sophia DODD (née MARTIN).

1901 census...Aged 4, he was at Silverley with his father John DODD [36] horsekeeper on farm, born Upend; his mother Sophia [35] born in Cowlinge, sisters Mary [12], Ethel [11] and Florence [9] and brothers Samuel [7] and Charles [3]. All the children were born in Silverley. His eldest sister Elizabeth [14] was a servant for George Davies, (schoolmaster) in Ousden.

1911 census...Aged 14, a farm labourer, he was still at Ashley cum Silverley with his parents and brothers Samuel(farm labourers) and Charles and Arthur [7] born Silverley. His mother's 8 children were all still living.

His younger brother Charles was killed in France in 1918 in the Rifle Brigade

He enlisted in Newmarket .
On 31st July 1917, behind a creeping barrage, the allied troops climbed out of the their trenches along the whole front line, from Boesinghe in the North to Le Gheer in the South, and advanced towards the German forces. The enemy's first line was quickly taken, but this only consisted of a thinly defended front line of machine gun outposts with a stronger, more heavily defended, support line behind it. The British pushed forward about one mile before meeting much stiffer resistance . Later in the afternoon the advance was stopped and pushed back in places, some units even being surrounded. A much worse enemy was about to be encountered, the worst weather for 75 years, which turned the whole battlefield into a quagmire, the whole attack was stalled until 10th August. Later estimates were that Third Ypres cost the Allies about 300,000 casualties (35 men for every metre gained - many of them were lost to the mud of Flanders and have no known grave). The Germans lost a further 260,000 casualties.
The 14th Hampshires advanced from the St Jean area ( Bilge Trench) towards St Julien. The Battalion War Diary described the days events as follows:
31st July 1917 Hill Top Sector .. Zero 3.50 a.m. Advanced from assembly positions, passed through 11th Royal Sussex Regiment on Blue Line, attacked, captured and consolidated Black and dotted Black Lines at FALKENHYN REDOUBT. From there advanced onto Alberta and dotted Green Line on east of STEENBEEK which were captured. Here troops of 118th Infantry Brigade passed through to capture solid Green Line. Company on East of STEENBEEK retired with 118th Infantry Brigade on night of 31 July / 1st August. Captured two Field Guns and one 4.5 Howitzer, 17 Machine Guns (counted) and over 200 prisoners.
They had taken and held St Julien but at the cost of 39 killed (11 of these have identified graves, the rest are named on the Menin Gate).

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Dodd is commemorated on the Menin Gate, panel 35

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details