James Aaron DODD


DODD, James Aaron

Service Numbers: 1898, 1898B
Enlisted: 25 January 1916
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 35th Infantry Battalion
Born: Yeola Vale, Robertson, New South Wales, Australia, 1898
Home Town: Robertson, Wingecarribee, New South Wales
Schooling: Hillcrest Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Farm Hand
Died: Killed In Action, Belgium, 23 July 1917
Cemetery: Bethleem Farm West Cemetery, Belgium
B2, Bethleem Farm West Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kangaroo Valley Museum DODD Memorial, Robertson Honour Roll & Memorial Stone, Robertson St John's Anglican Church Memorial Window
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World War 1 Service

25 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1898, 55th Infantry Battalion
23 Jun 1916: Involvement Private, SN 1898, 55th Infantry Battalion
23 Jun 1916: Embarked Private, SN 1898, 55th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Barambah, Sydney
23 Jul 1917: Involvement Private, SN 1898B, 35th Infantry Battalion

Another family tragedy

Family history suggests that James Dodd was never going to die of old age.
James Aaron Dodd was born in Robertson NSW and at 18 years of age enlisted from there on 25 January 1916. He was the youngest of four children born to Thomas and Anne (Annie) Dodd, both emigres from England and Ireland.
Tragically Thomas was killed in a tree felling accident in Kangaroo Valley in 1902 and Annie was left to run the family farm and raise the children. James was five years old at the time. He was working the farm when he enlisted at Kangaroo Valley and left for training at the Goulburn Camp. He went AWOL there for a day and was fined for the crime. The penalty didn't dissuade him however as he repeated the stunt in Etaples France.
He was to be assigned to the 35th Battalion, A Company, 2nd Platoon and embarked Sydney on 23 June 1916.
In the freezing trenches by February 1917 he escaped death when blown out of the trench by an exploding shell. He was unharmed.
The 35th Battalion was at Messines Belgium in July 1917 consolidating the gains made in the Battle of Messines the month before. James was digging an assembly trenches when a German minewerfer (mortar) shell exploded nearby killing him instantly.
James was buried at the Beltheem West Cemetery at Messines (see image).
At home he is honoured on the Kangaroo Valley and Moss Vale War Memorials. A window in the St Marks Church at Robertson is also dedicated to his memory.
James' death on the battlefield is part of a continuum of tragedies that befell the Dodd family. James' grandfather had been killed in a railway accident in 1859 in England, his father killed tree-felling in 1902 and now he killed in action.
His mother Annie was also to die a tragic and painful death. In 1938 at 79 years of age her clothing accidentally caught fire at the home. Annie lingered for a week before succumbing to her burns injuries.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of Thomas and Annie DODD, Yeola Vale, Robertson, New South Wales