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200018 Corporal Mannering Kite Dodson 1Mannering Kite Dodson was born in 1870 in Ireland the youngest of five children born to his parents Samuel and Martha Dodson (nee Kite). Samuel Dodson was originally a lace maker from Basford in Nottinghamshire and Martha Kite was from Folkestone in Kent and they were married in the church of St. Mary the Virgin in Dover on the 2nd April 1861. At the time of their marriage Samuel was serving with the 47th (Lancashire) Regiment having enlisted three years earlier on the 9th January 1858.

After their marriage Samuel and Martha went overseas to Nova Scotia, Canada with the Regiment where their three eldest children were born; Samuel Roberts (1862), Catherine (1864) and Edward Henry (1865). The Regiment left Canada in 1868 and returned to home shores, after a brief spell in Pembrokeshire where their daughter Edith Maria was born in 1868 the Regiment went to Limerick in Ireland where Mannering was born two years later.

Samuel Dodson was discharged from the Army in October 1878 after twenty years` service in the Regiment. In the 1881 Census he was visiting family in Nottingham while his wife Martha with Mannering and the rest of his siblings were living in Preston at 24 Oakley Street. Sadly, Samuel Dodson passed away in the December quarter of 1882 at the family home in Oakley Street. By 1891 Mannering was employed as a painter and decorator and was living with his mother Martha and sister Edith in Fishwick Parade in Preston.

On the 15th October 1892 he married Margaret Alice Walsh in St. Peter`s Church in Preston, his home address at the time was Greenbank House on Fylde Road and Margaret`s was number 5 St. John`s Place. In the early years of their marriage the couple moved to various places in Lancashire, a son Harry was born in 1894 in Great Harwood and a daughter Kate (1895) was born in Oswaldtwistle before the family moved back to Preston. After returning to Preston another daughter was born in 1901 and they named her Nellie but she died the following year and she was followed by Frederick in 1903 and Elizabeth Helen in 1906.

By 1911 the Dodson family home was 141 Victoria Street in Preston which was just around the corner from St. Peter`s Church where Mannering and Margaret had married. Eldest son Harry had followed his father into the painting and decorating business and daughter Kate was employed in a mill as a ring spinner.

On the 23rd December 1913 at the age of forty three Mannering enlisted into the Territorial Force at Preston and was posted to the 4th Battalion. He was issued with the service number 37 which would later be changed to 200018. Unfortunately no service records appear to exist so information on him is scarce but it`s very likely he signed his agreement to serve abroad in the event of a national emergency either at the outbreak of war or shortly afterwards.

The main body of the 1/4th Battalion sailed for France on the 4th May 1915 and Mannering went with them as part of `B` Company and at some point during his service he attained the rank of Corporal.

During their first major action in France, Mannering was reported missing after what would become known as the Great Bayonet charge at Festubert on the 15th June 1915.

Private Jack Whittle was involved in the battle and later wrote the following to his family in Preston.

“The charge was made in brilliant style, and the Germans were cleared from two lines of trenches. As we passed through their trenches and awful sight met our gaze, for dead and wounded Germans abounded everywhere, and in places they were piled up one on top of another. There were many who pretended to be wounded and pleaded for mercy. It was a creepy business having to run over their bodies as we advanced. I need scarcely say there were some awful sights and it almost makes me feel sick to write about them.

It was when we got into the open we began to lose our men, for what with their artillery and machine guns, it literally rained lead. Pals fell on all sides of me, and it was miraculous that I got through without being hit.

Unfortunately although we were quite successful in taking two lines of trenches we could not get in touch with our right wing and as it looked as though the Germans would surround us, we were ordered to retire”.

A few weeks later Mannering’s family received word that he had been taken prisoner during the action and was also suffering from a broken leg.

200018 Corporal Mannering Kite Dodson 2

The article refers to him as Sergeant, his Medal Index Card and Medal Rolls state that he was a Corporal

The only precise information regarding Mannering’s internment was in January 1917 when he is listed in the Red Cross P.O.W. Records as being held at Mannheim P.O.W. camp. Mannheim was located two miles outside of the town and held approximately 10,000 men. From February 1917 it was apparently used as a clearing or exchange camp for British P.O.W`s awaiting repatriation.

Mannering was indeed repatriated before the end of the war because he was discharged from the Army on the 26th September 1918 and received a Silver War Badge with the number B15768. After the war he was also awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his services to his country.

After the war Mannering and his eldest son Harry set up a cycle and motor repair business which was based in Leicester Street, Preston. The business was still trading at the same address as M & H Dodson in the early 1940`s.

Sadly, Mannering Dodson passed away at the Preston Royal Infirmary on the 2nd January 1942 aged 72 years; his home address was 140 Kent Street in Preston. His widow Margaret Alice died four years later on the 9th June 1946 at the same address.

Janet Davis
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