Private Robert William Dodman

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.

Robert William Dodman was born in the 3rd quarter of 1877 in Dorking to John and Harriet Dodman nee Botting.

Robert’s father John was born about 1851 in Ewhurst, Surrey. He died at the age of 67 on the 25th of November 1918 in Surrey. At the time of his death he lived at Hill View, Cranleigh Road in Ewhurst. He left his wife Harriet £105, 10s. He was buried on the 30th of November 1918 at St Peter & St Paul’s in Ewhurst.

Robert’s mother Harriet was born about 1855 at Ewhurst. She died at the age of 88 in 1943. She was buried on the 15th of January 1943 at St Peter & St Paul’s in Ewhurst. At the time of her death she resided at Elmers Farm in Ockley.

John and Harriet married in the 1st quarter of 1874 in Hambledon, Surrey.

Robert was born in 1877 in Dorking.

Robert had three sisters and three brothers: Lilian, Clarence V., Ivy E., Frederick H., Valentine H. and James Henry.

Robert Dodman 1881 Census © Ancestry.co.uk
Robert Dodman 1881 Census © Ancestry.co.uk

During the time of the 1881 Census, the family lived at Forest Green, Pisley in Abinger (formerly Ockley). Robert’s father was working as a game keeper, his mother was at home and looked after three year old Robert, his sister Lilian and brothers Frederick H. and Valentine H.

Robert Dodman 1891 Census © Ancestry.co.uk
Robert Dodman 1891 Census © Ancestry.co.uk

At the time of the 1891 Census, the family lived at Warren Do, Peper Harow in Hambledon. John was still working as a game keeper and Harriet was at home together with scholar Robert and his sisters Clarence V., Ivy E. and a brother James Henry.

Robert William enlisted as a gunner on the 26th of November 1895 in Hounslow. At the time of his enlistment he was working as a groom and his parents lived at Warren Cottage, Shackleford, Godalming. He was over 5ft tall, weighted 138lb, had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. He had a scar over his left eyebrow. He became part of the Royal Artillery. He was a private with the regimental number 12299.

Robert was serving at home from the 26th of November 1895 to 3rd of November 1899. Then he took part in the South Africa Campaign where he served from the 4th of November 1899 to the 30th of January 1902. He was awarded the Queen’s Medal with clasps for his engagement in Cape Colony; Orange Free State; Transvaal; Tugela Height; Relief of Ladysmith and Laing’s Nek. He was also awarded the King’s Medal with claps for his South Africa engagement during 1901-1902.

From the 31st of January 1902 to 24 of November 1904 Robert was serving again at home.

He was discharged on the 24th of November 1904 having been convicted by the Civil Power of felony. He served in the Army for 8 years and 364 days.

Robert Dodman 1911 Census © Ancestry.co.uk
Robert Dodman 1911 Census © Ancestry.co.uk

At the time of the 1911 Census, 34 years old Robert was again living with his parents at the Cottage, Binscombe Lane in Godalming. He was working as a general labourer. His father was still working as a game keeper and mother Harriet was at home. Brother James Henry was a grocer master.

Sometime after WWI war broke, Robert William re-enlisted at Cranleigh, Surrey.

He became part of the 28th Division Ammunition Park, the Royal Field Artillery. He was a private and his new regimental number was 52702.

Robert disembarked in France on the 15th of February 1915.

Robert William drowned on the 30th of January 1916 at Havre in France.

He is buried at STE. Marie Cemetery in Le Havre, France. His grave reference number is Div.19.P.8.

Robert Dodman Soldiers Effects © Ancestry.co.uk
Robert Dodman Soldiers Effects © Ancestry.co.uk

He was 38 years old. Robert’s father John received Soldier Effect’s of £9, 8s and 8d on the 9th of May 1916. As John passed away in 1918 Robert’s mother Harriet received further sum of £4 and 10s on the 6th of February 1920.

He was awarded by the British War and Victory medals and 1914-1915 Star.

Robert William is also remembered on the Ewhurst Memorial Plaque at St Peter & St Paul’s Church and the Ewhurst Baptism Church and a Book of Remembrance. He is also engraved on the south face of the Ewhurst War Memorial and a headstone of his parents at St Peter & St Paul’s graveyard in Ewhurst bears his name.

Born                            Dorking, Surrey

Son of                         John and Harriet (nee Botting) Dodman

Enlisted                       Cranleigh, Surrey

Regiment                     28th Division Ammunition Park, the Royal Field Artillery
Number                       52702

Date of Death              30th January 1916
Place of Death             Le Hauvre, France
Cause of Death            Drowned

Age                              35

Cemetery                     STE. Marie Cemetery in Le Havre, France