Major R N Dodds MBE MC DCM MM

Just picked this up from the RSA Forum page, very interesting post on this gallant gentleman:

In the June 2009 edition of the “Wire” the Museum placed an enquiry to discover whether any readers had served with or had any knowledge of the wartime service of Maj R N Dodds.

The Museum was particularly interested in this story as Maj Dodds had served with both the Royal Engineer Signal Service and the Royal Corps of Signals, served through two World Wars in their entirety and been awarded four gallantry awards (the MBE was awarded for gallant and distinguished service with the 8th Army in 1942) which reflected incidents during his service in both a commissioned and non commissioned capacity. The latter on its own makes this to be of significant historical interest to the heritage of the Corps.

Sadly no first hand knowledge of Maj Dodds came to light as a result of our enquiry but the article did attract the attention of a member of the Corps who offered to research in detail this story on behalf of the Museum. Over the last two years , contact has been made with a surviving members of the family. The search results revealed Maj. Dodd’s service record, war diary entries, regimental histories and newspaper articles, which when put together illustrate what is, a quite remarkable story.

The full document is now held within the Museum archive but briefly Robert Norman Dodds was born in 1895 and joined the Northumberland Territorials in 1912 and was mobilised in 1914 transferring to the 50th Northumberland Division Royal Engineer Signal Section the same year.

He served on the Western Front in Belgium from 1915 onwards during which time he was promoted to Sergeant awarded an MM in 1916 and a DCM in 1917 for conspicuous gallantry whilst laying telephone cables under fire until being wounded and medically evacuated to the UK later the same year. After recovering from his injuries he served as a signals instructor at the Royal Engineers Signal School at Haynes Park Bedford before being selected for officer training and commissioned in 1918.

2Lt Dodds chose to remain in the Army after the Armistice and in 1918 volunteered for the North Russia Expedition a short but disastrous campaign, where he found himself in charge of Signals Operations of the Onega River Force, his personal actions resulting in him recommended for an award of an MC before being captured by the Bolsheviks and imprisoned in the infamous Lubyanka prison.

Released in 1919 following an exchange of prisoners he left the Army in 1920 and worked as a farmer, in and around his home town of Hexham. On the outbreak of WW2 he was granted an emergency commission in the Royal Signals. He served predominantly in the Middle East seeing action with Montgomery’s 8th Army for which he was awarded an MBE in 1942. He finally left the army as a Major at the end of the war in 1945,

The whereabouts of Maj Dodd’s medals are currently unknown but the Museum Director is keen to locate them in order that they be included in our medal gallery or form part of a temporary display if a loan could be arranged some time in the future.
People like MAJ Dodds always amaze and impress me. They seem to pack several military lives into one.

The interesting thing is they always lead average lives outside of war. "Worked as a farmer". Probably just an average guy in the village pub on a friday night playing darts.

I would guess he would have a hell of a rack: MBE MC DCM MM, the WW1 trio, and at least three WW2 medals.
What a book his life would make!

The Major Dodds of this world are worth a million of the so-called heroes we see peddled on the screens these days...

I wonder if his medals have been located? Folks like him should have a cabinet to themselves at the Corps' Museum...
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