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John was born in 1895 in Preston the son of Albert and Margaret Alice Dodgson (nee Lancaster). Albert and Margaret were married in Preston in 1892, they had five children including John, the others being Florence (1893-1896), Herbert (1897), Fred (1898) and Margaret (1906).

John`s father Albert was a native of Manchester and was a boot maker by trade. In 1911 the family were all living at 1 Avenham Road, Preston. John was employed as an errand boy for a Dentist.

On the 7 September, 1914 John enlisted at Preston and was posted into ‘D Company’ (Preston Pals) of the 7th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.  He was allocated the service number 13061. John confirmed that he had no previous military experience. At his medical inspection it was noted that he was 5`7” tall, had a 36” chest and weighed 140lbs. He had brown eyes and dark brown hair and his physical development was good. He named his father Albert of 1 Avenham Road, Preston as his next of kin.

The 7th Battalion departed England for France on the 16th and 17th July, 1915. In September the same year John very kindly penned a letter to the parents of his `pal` 13114 Private Maxwell Burnet also 7th Battalion informing them of how their son Maxwell had died on the 16th September. In the letter he explains how lucky he was not to have been killed at the same time.

John Dodgson was unfortunately killed in action himself on 23 July, 1916 when the 7th Battalion were involved in actions on the Somme. His service papers state he was killed “at a place not stated”. His body was never recovered.

The following report appeared in the local paper a short while afterwards.


None of John`s personal effects were returned to his family in Preston.

Private John Dodgson was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Rank: Private
Service No: 13061
Date of Death: 23/07/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.

Additional family information
John`s brother Herbert also enlisted. He was 687278 Gunner Herbert Dodgson, “B” Battery, 277th Bde, RFA. Herbert had enlisted on 27 October, 1915. His trade was a boot maker like his father Albert. Herbert was killed in action on 14 August, 1917 and is buried in Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Janet Davis
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