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Arthur William Dodd (1894–1961)

by M. Freiberg

This article was published:

Arthur William Dodd (1894-1961), soldier, station-manager and pastoral adviser, was born on 12 August 1894 at Kew, Melbourne, only son of Henry Alexander Dodd, merchant and later sharebroker, and his wife Mary Alexander, née King, both Melbourne-born. He attended Trinity Grammar School, Kew, in 1904-10, represented the school at cricket, football, tennis and athletics, and was a member of the cadets. He became a clerk with the Royal Bank of Australasia, served in the peacetime forces as gunner and bombardier in the 9th Battery, Australian Field Artillery, and was commissioned second lieutenant in September 1913.

Dodd enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was posted to the 6th Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, on 18 August 1914 with the rank of second lieutenant. He embarked for Egypt in October and next February was promoted lieutenant. His unit landed at Cape Helles in April 1915 with the British 29th Division and took part in operations at Krithia in May-June; in August it was moved to Anzac Cove where Dodd was wounded on 12 November but remained on duty. The 6th Battery served at Gallipoli until the evacuation, then returned to Egypt. Promoted captain on 12 March 1916, Dodd was given command of the newly formed 23rd Battery, but a week later returned to command the 6th, an appointment he was to hold until the end of the war.

Dodd reached France in April and his battery went into action at Hazebrouck; in July he took part in operations at Pozières and then followed the German retreat to the Hindenburg line. He was awarded the Military Cross for meritorious service throughout this period, especially during the capture of Pozières. In January 1917 he was promoted major and next month received the Order of the White Eagle of Serbia. He fought at Lagnicourt in April and in the 3rd battle of Ypres in July; here the Australian artillery suffered crippling losses and Dodd was wounded and evacuated, resuming command in October for the 2nd battle of Passchendaele. His battery was put out of action by enemy gas on 29 October and he was gassed and hospitalized for three months. He was wounded again on 1 March 1918 but remained on duty.

In April-June Dodd served at Hazebrouck and Merris and took temporary command of the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade at Villers-Bretonneux in the battle on 8 August. His final service was on 2-3 October in operations at Nauroy and Bellicourt. He was wounded for the fifth time when, after four hours of intense enemy bombardment, a gas-shell struck the side of his dug-out, immersing him in a thick cloud of gas. Though suffering severely he completed his orders for an attack on Beaurevoir. For showing 'courage and determination of a high order' he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order; he was also twice mentioned in dispatches during the war.

Dodd was demobilized in November 1919. Next year he bought a property near Liverpool, New South Wales, in partnership with a wartime friend and when this venture failed moved north where he worked as a jackeroo on Eversham station, Longreach, Queensland, and then as a head-stockman and sub-manager on Lake Nash station, Northern Territory. In 1926 he was made overseer of Winslade station, near Cloncurry, Queensland, and in 1928 became its manager. The year before, on 22 November, he had married Muriel Mabel Maud Simmonds at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne. He remained at Winslade until 1940 when became a pastoral inspector with Goldsbrough Mort & Co.; in 1943-49 he was a supervisor of company properties and in 1949-52 managed the firm's Brisbane office. He remained with Goldsbrough Mort as a pastoral adviser until 1955.

In retirement Dodd began a history of the 6th Battery in World War I; though incomplete it contains several graphic accounts of actions in which his unit participated, as well as personal anecdotes and asides. Survived by his wife and three daughters, he died of cerebro-vascular disease on 12 December 1961 at Hamilton and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • C. E. W. Bean, The Story of Anzac (Syd, 1921, 1924), and The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1917-18 (Syd, 1933, 1937, 1942)
  • London Gazette, 1 Jan, 15 Feb 1917, 27 Dec 1918, 11 July, 4 Oct 1919
  • Goldsbrough Mort & Co. records (Australian National University Archives)
  • records (Australian War Memorial)
  • private information.

Citation details

M. Freiberg, 'Dodd, Arthur William (1894–1961)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 13 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (Melbourne University Press), 1981

View the front pages for Volume 8

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