Dodd, Harry

Harry Dodd was born on the 15th September 1908 according to his Service Record, the son of Richard & Gertrude J. Dodd (nee Bennett) who married in a Civil Ceremony in Chester 1906 (Cheshire West ROC/50/158)

Harry age 2, is seen for the first time on the 1911 census where he was the 2nd son and child of Richard & Gertrude, his siblings were Albert, 4, and sister Elsie, 1.     Richard, 30, was head of the household, a Shunter for the Great Central Railway, Working at Home and born in Northop.   His wife Gertrude, 25 and the children had all been born in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire.   Richard and Gertrude tell us that they had been married for 5 years and 3 children had been born to them and were still living.

The 1921 census, which was taken on the 19th of June 1921, shows us that the family had moved, to 16, Pen y Llan Street, Connah’s Quay, Richard Dodd was head of the household and was now 40 years and 6 months old, he was still a Shunter, but at John Summers & Sons, Steel Works, Shotton and “Out of Work.”

His wife Jane was now 35 years and 1 month old and was doing” Home Duties.   Albert Dodd, was 14 years and 6 months old, he too was “Out of Work.”  Harry Dodd was 12 years 8 months old, Horace Dodd was 9 years 5 months old, John Dodd was 7 years 4 months old, Elsie Dodd was 11 years 2 months old, Eda Dodd was years 2 months old and Betty Dodd was 1 years 3 months old.

It seems that Harry Dodd was to find work in 1931 by enlisting in the Royal Navy on the 27th of June 1931, as a Seaman.   There is a description of Harry on his Service Record, he was 5 feet 9 inches tall, Chest Measurement 37 inches Hair Brown, Eyes Blue and complexion Fresh, he had a scar on his left knee.  It looks as though he had leave 3 times to Connah’s Quay on this Service Record, which doesn’t go beyond 1936.   He may have been discharged as he became a Steel Erector, as seen on his Marriage Certificate in 11939.   I have his Service records, but I not able to upload to the page, so please get in touch with the website.

Harry’s parents and some siblings are seen on the 1939 Register, which was taken on the 29th of September 1939.  The family are now living at 22, Bryn Road, Connah’s Quay, however, I don’t know why Richard and Gertrude are listed no’s 8 & 9 in the household.  However, Ada  A. Dodd was first on the list of residents, she had been born on the 24th March 1918. Mary E. Dodd, born 20th February 1920. Agnes M. Dodd had been born on the 9th March 1922 and all three were Spinner’s Assistants at the Silk  Works.  Joyce Dodd had been born on the 2nd of February 1926, Derek Dodd had been born on the 22nd of August 1928 and both were “At School.”   Gertrude, J. Dodd had been born on the 1st March 1888 and was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties,” as most married women were described if they didn’t have a job.  Richard Dodd had been born on the 28th of November 1880 and was a Railway Shunter.   There were 2 closed or redacted records, but I do not know who they were.

Harry’s siblings – *Mary J. Dodd married Ralph Lamb in St. Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay in 1941 and ** Agnes M Dodd married Kenneth Challinor in the Golftyn Presbyterian Church, Connah’s Quay in 1948

I do not know when Harry met Catherine Edwards but although I can find Catherine Dodd living with her family on the 1939 Register, at 3, Salisbury Street , Flint,  I cannot find Harry, but as that was taken on the 29th of September 1939, he may have been already in the Royal Naval Reserve, in any case, Harry married Catherine on the 8th April 1939 at St. Mary’s Church, Flint and Harry was killed on the 30th October the same year, however, his death was recorded as the 5th November 1939 as that was the date the boat was overdue, and probably at that time, they had no idea what had happened to it..   Sadly, Catherine and Harry were not to have any normal married life. 

St Mary’s Church, Flint

Page 43 No 86 8th April 1939 Harry DODD, 30, Bachelor, Steel Erector, 22, Bryn Road, Connah’s Quay, Richard DODD, Shunter & Catherine EDWARDS, 27, Spinster, 3, Salisbury St., Flint, Thomas EDWARDS, Fitter’s Mate.   (After Banns).   Witnesses:- Thomas D. BENNETT & Florence EDWARDS.

When War was declared, Harry would have been one of the first to be summoned, as in other branches of the services, they wanted experienced men in every Service.

Please click on the link to read the story of Kenneth Reddin who was also lost on the Northern Rover, they probably were mates or knew each other in Connah’s Quay, as they both born there.

 I was able to find information about what happened to Harry, Kenneth and the Northern Rover thanks to

November 1939

November 5 – Trawler NORTHERN ROVER (R, 655t, 1936), overdue at Kirkwall, Orkneys by this date and also thanks to the story of Northern Rover and it’s crew can be told, it was Commissioned          Sep 1939 and Lost 30 Oct 1939, Loss position  59° 57’N, 4° 24’W.

Displacement: 655 tons.

Torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-59 about 100 miles west of Sumburgh Head, Shetland Islands in position 59.57’N, 04.24’W on 30 October 1939.  ).   It’s Commmander  from 27th September  1939 – 30th October 1939 was Lt. (retired) Martin Hugh Macpherson, RN.

Ships hit by U-boats –

Fate     Sunk by U-59 (Harald Jürst)

Position           59° 57’N, 4° 24’W – Grid AN 1313

Complement   27 (27 dead – no survivors)

Route  Kirkwall – patrol area – Kirkwall

History            – Completed in October 1936 as steam trawler Northern Rover (LO 164) for Mac Line Ltd (Lever Brothers Ltd), London. 1937 transferred to Northern Trawlers Ltd, London. In August 1939 requisitioned by the Admiralty and used as armed boarding vessel, based in Kirkwall for Contraband Duties.

Notes on event          

At 23.35 hours on 30 Oct 1939, HMS Northern Rover (4.58) (Lt M.H. Macpherson, RN) was hit by one torpedo from U-59 and sank about 100 miles west of Sumburgh Head, Shetland Islands. The commander, three officers and 23 ratings were lost.

Crew list of Ships hit by U-boats –

Harry Dodd RNR (P/X 9848 B). British. Born 1909, Died  30 Oct 1939, (30), Roster information listed for Harry Dodd:-

Ship     Type    Rank / role      Attacked on     Boat

HMS Northern Rover (4.58)   A/S trawler     Seaman           30 Oct 1939 (+)          U-59

Personal information

Son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Dodd; husband of Catherine Dodd, of Flint.

List of all U-boats – U-59 Type IIC

Ordered           17 Jun 1937

Laid down       5 Oct 1937      Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel (werk 258)

Launched        12 Oct 1938

Commissioned            4 Mar 1939     Oblt. Harald Jürst


4 Mar 1939     –           17 Jul 1940                 Kptlt. Harald Jürst

Career – 13 patrols

Successes -17 ships sunk, total tonnage 34,130 GRT

2 auxiliary warships sunk, total tonnage 864 GRT

1 ship damaged, total tonnage 8,009 GRT

1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 4,943 GRT


Scuttled on 3 May 1945 in the Kiel Arsenal after being decommissioned in April 1945. Wreck broken up in 1945.

History on Kptlt. Harald Jürst –

Lancashire Evening Post dated the 11th November 1939 printed an announcement of the loss of the Northern Rover and it’s Crew.   Sadly, Harry’s surname was spelt wrong, he was described as Harry TODD.

Any help to tell Harry’s story would be gratefully received.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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