John Leslie (Jack) DODD

Poppy

DODD, John Leslie

Service Number: SX7529
Enlisted: 2 July 1940
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Minlaton, South Australia, 26 March 1918
Home Town: Mount Hope, Lower Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Schooling: Rocky Beach, then Minlaton Schools, South Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Died of Illness, Palestine, 16 November 1941, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Gaza War Cemetery, Israel and Palestine (including Gaza)
Gaza War Cemetery, Gaza, Israel
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

2 Jul 1940: Enlisted Private, SN SX7529, Wayville, South Australia
2 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN SX7529, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
16 Nov 1941: Involvement Private, SN SX7529, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement

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Biography contributed by Kaye Lee

‘Far away from his loved ones, comrades have laid him to rest’.

John Leslie DODD SX7529

John (Jack) was the second son born in Minlaton to George and Catherine Dodd on the 26th of March 1918. He was one of four children, his siblings being Victor, Katherine, and Marjorie.

The children attended Rocky Beach, then Minlaton Schools before the family settled on the land between Brimpton Lake and Mount Hope on the Eyre Peninsula in 1933 when John was about 15 years old. There they took up farming with George later becoming renowned for his quality Border Leicester-Merina cross ewe lambs. The family readily immersed themselves in the local community. Jack developed into a talented and valuable member in both the Mount Hope football and tennis teams. He was also readily involved in the usual social activities of country towns, including a Mad Hatters’ Ball where he and his sister Katherine won a novelty dance.

When WWII erupted, recruiting drives were held in many country areas including Cowell, Minnipa, Wudinna, Streaky Bay and Port Lincoln. Jack joined the armed forces at Port Lincoln, being the only Mt Hope enlistee at that time amongst 27 other local young men. They departed for Adelaide at the end of June and were formally enlisted on the 2nd July 1940, when Jack was 22. During embarkation leave, a social evening in the Kapinnie Hall was organised to farewell the then Private Jack Dodd. There was a typically large crowd in attendance, enjoying the dancing, singing and a presentation by students from the Brimpton Lake School. Formal speeches and gifts followed, including a parcel from the Comforts Fund. Pte. Dodd suitably responded before the singing of 'For he's a jolly good fellow ' and ' Auld Lang Syne' ensued. Initially Jack was a member of the Motor Division but quickly transferred to become one of the original soldiers in the newly formed 2/48th Battalion.

Jack’s father was most supportive of the war effort, including at a ‘Win the War Rally’ at the Kapinnie Hall the day after Jack’s enlistment. Resultantly, 877 war savings certificates were purchased, and £210 invested in free interest loan. In one case, a generous gift of £2 was made to the Commonwealth Treasury.

Following his pre-embarkation leave, Jack was part of the large contingent to leave on the Stratheden for the Middle East. From his very healthy, open air farm life, Jack almost immediately contracted mumps as did so many others, as well as a severe and painful inner ear infection which resulted in him being transferred to hospital. He then spent the next 10 months back with his Battalion in the horrific conditions at Tobruk. However, an attack of jaundice followed then severe meningococcal, common in the Middle East, followed by meningitis which attacked the membrane of his brain and inevitably, toxaemia. Jack had only recently turned 22 when he died of illness in Palestine on the 16th November, 1941 less than a year after arriving. He was buried in the Gaza War Memorial Cemetery at Palestine. The inscription on the cross above his grave reads ‘Far away from his loved ones, comrades have laid him to rest’.

The distressing news was relayed to his parents and shared with the families and friends through the local papers, the Port Lincoln Times, West Coast Recorder and the Pioneer. A memorial service to honour Pte. Jack Dodd was held at the Kapinnie Church of England. The large congregation came from all the surrounding areas including Mount Hope, Cummins, Mount Drummond and Yeelanna.

Personal possessions returned to Jack’s family included his watch and money belt which contained just a small amount of money (about $2), but so precious to the grieving family who continued to remember Jack in annual Memorials in newspapers. They were further affected by the death of his mother Catherine who died on 16th June 1942 in the Adelaide Hospital, just seven months after Jack’s death. She was just 62.

Chronicle Thursday 27 November 1941, DODD. —On November 16, abroad (of illness), Pte. John Leslie Dodd, younger dearly beloved son of G. L. and K. Dodd, of Mt. Hope, and loving brother of Vic, Kath, and Marj. In his 24th year. 

Advertiser Monday 16 November 1942, DODD. —A tribute of love to the memory of our nephew and cousin, Pte. John L. Dodd, who passed away Nov 16. 1941, in Palestine. —Remembered by uncle, aunts and cousins, Minlaton. 

Port Lincoln Times Thursday 16 November 1944, DODD, Pte. J. L.—In loving memory of our dear brother Jack, who passed away in Palestine, November 16, 1941. —Inserted by Kath and Bruce, Brimpton Lake. DODD. —In loving memory of our son and brother, Pte. Jack, who passed away in Palestine, November 16, 1941. Too dearly loved to be forgotten. —Inserted by loving father, brother and sisters.

Port Lincoln Times Thursday 15 November 1945, DODD. — In loving memory of our son and brother, Pte. Jack, 2/48 Batt., who passed away in Palestine, November 16, 1941. Not a day do we forget you. In our hearts you are always near. — Inserted by his loving father, brothers and sisters.

Port Lincoln Times Thursday 11 November 1948, DODD (J. L. Pte. SX7529). — Died of illness, Palestine, November 16th, 1941. — Always remembered by sister Kath and brother-in-law Bruce.

Port Lincoln Times Thursday 18 November 1948, DODD (Pte. J. L., SX7529). — In loving memory of Jack, who passed away in Palestine, November 16, 1941. Too dearly loved to be forgotten. — Inserted by loving father, brother and sisters.

Advertiser Wednesday 3 December 1941, DODD. —On November 16. abroad (of illness. Pte. John Leslie Dodd. younger dearly beloved son of G. L. and K. Dodd. of Mount Hope, and loving brother of Vic. Kath. and Marj. in his 24th year.

 

With the declaration of peace, the residents of Kiana and Ulipa held a welcome home for those who had served. It began with a march ahead of a carnival atmosphere before a formal dinner was served. Decorations were in patriotic red, white and blue. Following the ample feast, toasts were made including the fervent wish that a long life of peace, for which they had so valiantly fought and helped to win, would now ensue. The ‘Port Lincoln Times’ reported that ‘Pte. R. Mahoney responded on behalf of the guests. In his speech, he said that he and his cobbers had lived and fought in those long weary years of war with the desire always in their hearts to again march along the old Mount Hope Road. All were happy and thankful to be back again.’ In the following tribute to 'The Fallen' Mr. D. K. Speed shared that “99 per cent. of the lads had returned. There was one hero who had paid the supreme sacrifice - Pte. Jack Dodd. He extended regrets and sincerest sympathy to the Dodd family, who were present.” Dancing followed until late in the evening when presentations of £5 and an engraved fountain pen ware made by Mr. J. J. Mahoney, to each member of the services from Kiana and ' Ulipa. In a thoughtful gesture, a framed photo with words of tribute to our fallen hero, Pte. Jack Dodd, was presented to Mr. Dodd, who very suitably responded, and thanked the district on behalf of himself and his family.

In May ’46, the Cummins community planed 58 Trees of Tribute along Memorial Avenue in remembrance of soldiers of the district who had fallen in either of the two world wars. The plantings began near the hospital gate and continued down the avenue. Trees in memory of service personnel who had fallen during World War II were planted first, with Jack’s tree being the 17th from the hospital gates.

Two year later, in September, 1948, the honour roll at Kapinnie was unveiled by Jack’s father, George Dodd. This was followed by a minute's silence in memory of their two servicemen who paid the supreme sacrifice in WWII, John Dodd and Jack Watson (SX9538) who was killed almost a year after Jack on the 31st October ‘42 in Egypt. The unveiling concluded with a collection for the United Nations Appeal for Children. Three years later, in June’51, the Cummins and District Memorial Hospital also instituted an Honor Roll on which Jack’s name featured. Additionally, Jack is similarly commemorated on the Roll of Honour at Port Lincoln, where he originally enlisted.

Jack’s father, George died almost 20 years after his wife, Catherine on the 11th May ’62. He was aged 82. Both parents are buried at the Happy Valley Cemetery in Port Lincoln.

 

Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133, 2/48th Battalion.

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