Percy Dodds, Private 3057, 12th Battalion, Manchester Regiment
Killed in action 24th April 1916 in France, aged 30
Percy Dodds was born in 1886 at Langley, near Macclesfield, the son of Mary Ann and Samuel Pedley Dodds, a man of independent means who was born in Worthing, Sussex. In 1891, four year old Percy was living at “The Shrubbery”, Langley, with his parents and siblings Eva (15), Ella (14), Lewis (11), Noel (9), Charles (7), and baby Sybil (4 months).
Noel, Charles and Percy were admitted to Macclesfield Forest Church of England School on 23rd October 1894; the school register gave their address as Throstle Nest, Whaley Bridge. Percy also attended Langley school.
By 1901 the family had moved to 20 Beech Lane, Tytherington, and Percy and Sybil were the only children at home.
Percy married Alice Maud Barnard in Chorlton-on-Medlock in early 1911 and in the 1911 census the couple were living at Morris House, Brown Edge, Staffordshire; Percy was working as a farmer.
Percy enlisted at Ashton Under Lyne, and after training was posted to Gallipoli on 14th July 1915. After the evacuation of Gallipoli, he was sent to France. The 12th Manchester Regiment was near Armentieres on April 1916, and moved into the front line trenches on the evening of 23rd April. The war diary for 24th April reads:
7.25am to 9.30am: The enemy violently bombarded Pont Ballot Salient, Vancouver, The Orchard and the front line. Roughly about 500 shells were directed against the points mentioned and considerable damage was done to the trenches. 2nd Lieut McKenzie L.C. was wounded by shell in the head. He had only joined the Battn on the 23rd.
Percy was killed in action on that day.
Percy’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 19th May 1916:
A PATRIOTIC FAMILY – MACCLESFIELD PARENTS BEREAVED
Mr S P Dodds, 62 High Street, Macclesfield, has been officially notified that his youngest son, Private Percy Dodds, 12th Battalion Manchester Regt, has been killed in action in France. Private Dodds had only been at the front a few months and met his death on April 24th.
Private Dodds enlisted on the outbreak of war, and after undergoing a period of training was drafted out to France. He was born at Langley 30 years ago, where his parents then resided. Private Dodds received his education at the Langley Day School, under Mr Schofield. Subsequently his parents, who originally came from Norfolk, returned to Macclesfield. The deceased soldier was well-known in the town…
Private Dodds’ elder brother, Lewis, served in the Chinese War and the Boxer Rising. The two remaining brothers have attested and are waiting to be called up. The brother who served in China stood 6ft 2in. Mr Dodds has four grandsons in the Army. Three enlisted in the Canadian contingent and are the sons of Mr Samuel Pedley Dodds, who went out to Canada a considerable time ago. The other grandson, whose home is at Hayfield, Derbyshire, is in the Cheshires. Mr Dodds’ son-in-law, Mr J A Harrison, who formerly was captain of the Macclesfield Cricket Club, is also serving with the forces.
Percy’s death was also reported in the Macclesfield Courier of 20th May 1916:
PRIVATE P. DODDS
Mr and Mrs Dodds, of 62 High Street, Macclesfield, have received official intimation that their son, Private Percy Dodds, of the Manchester Regiment, has been killed in action. He was 30 years of age, and was amongst the first to join Kitchener’s Army. Prior to the war, Private Dodds was employed in farm work. He was a native of Langley, and educated at Langley School.
Private Percy Dodds is buried in Grave Ref. IX. G. 40. of the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery in France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Percy Dodds, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Uncle of the sons of Samuel Pedley Dodds II: Samuel Pedley Dodds III, who enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) on 25th March 1916 (service no 636950) and survived the war; Brian Dodds, who enlisted with the CEF on 8th February 1916 (service no 636606) at the age of 15¾, understating his age by one year; and John Gee Dodds, who enlisted with the CEF on 24th January 1916 (service no 636427) and died of wounds at the General Hospital in Boulogne, France, on 14th May 1917.
Uncle of the son of Eva Dodds: John Gee, who enlisted as Private 3645 in the 2/6th Cheshire Regiment and is reported to have died after being inoculated.