Dodd, John Desmond

I found John Desmond’s Gravestone in Connah’s Quay Cemetery and realised that his name was not on the WW2 War Memorial for the town.   He must be remembered for his sacrifice.

I also found a Newspaper cutting of his funeral:-

Chester Chronicle 24th May 1941 Corporal John Desmond DODD CQ (See Below)


News has been received last week from the South of England of the death of Corporal John Desmond DODD, late of Hibre-road, Connah’s Quay.   When visiting the district he had made his home with his father-in-law, Mr. John MATHEWS.    The funeral was on Monday at the Catholic Church.   Fathers CASHMAN and NOONAN officiating.    The mourners were Mrs. J.D.DODD (widow), Mrs. McNeill, Miss Evelyn DODD and Mrs. WOTHERSPOON (sisters), Mr. J. DODD (brother), Mr. J. WOTHERSPOON (brother-in-law), Mr. W. CORBBETT (cousin), Mr. & Mrs. J. MATHEWS, Miss Gwen THOMAS, and Mrs. CATHERALL.   An Air Force escort attended.   Mr. T. FISH had charge of the arrangements.

This cutting enabled me to find that John Desmond married Eileen A. Mathews in the June quarter of 1939 in a Civil Marriage in Holywell (North Wales Flintshire (Mold) HOL/60/119).   I don’t know how they met but suspect that John Desmond had been stationed at Sealand for training.

Eileen A. Mathews is seen on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939, living with her parents at 6, Hilbre Road, Connah’s Quay.

This source helps by giving the dates of births of each person.    Eileen’s father John Mathews had been born on the 8th October 1887 and was an Electric Crane Driver, his wuife, Harriet E. Mathews was born on the 3rd December 1888 and like most married women on this register who didn’t have a job was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   Also in the household was Keith Mathews born the 13th February 1930 and was “At School.”    Eileen A. Dodd was born on the 28th May 1914 and was married and a “Sorter at the Paper Mills.”  This source also gives the information that Eileen remarried at some point in the future.

I found a birth of a John Desmond Dodd in Ancestry, which was registered in Belfast, according to the Ireland, Civil Registration Births Index, 1864-1958.    He was registered in the September quarter of 1915. (Birth Country:         Ireland.   Volume: 1  Page: 327.  FHL Film Number: 101076)   I do not know for certain if this was him, the certificate would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.

I have no information about John Desmond’s early or teenage years and do not know when he enlisted of came over to this country, any information would be gratefully received.

However, he was to find himself stationed eventually at Feltwell, Cambridgeshire with 57 Squadron:-

Extract from : –

RAF Feltwell

Royal Air Force Feltwell or more simply RAF Feltwell is a Royal Air Force station in Norfolk, East Anglia that is used by the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa. The station is located about 10 miles west of Thetford, and is in the borough of King’s Lynn at approximate Ordnance Survey grid reference TL 715 900.

A former Second World War bomber station, the airfield is used as a housing estate for United States Air Force personnel stationed nearby at RAF Mildenhall as part of the 100th Air Refueling Wing and RAF Lakenheath as part of the 48th Fighter Wing, while also containing the Mathies Airman Leadership School for USAF personnel in the UK, as well as being the home of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s sole furniture store in the country. It also houses the only Middle school for Lakenheath and Mildenhall, which covers most of the station.

Extracts from “Abandoned, Forgotten & Little Known Airfields in Europe,…

UK – Feltwell

Runway (WW1) 1006x731m/208acres flying field – grass

Runway (WW2): NE/SW – 1280 – grass

Runway (WW2): E/W – 1646 –  grass

Runway (WW2): NW/SE – 1097 – grass

Feltwell airfield (RAF Feltwell) was an airfield 115 kiilometer north-northwest of London

During World War I, from 1915, it housed No. 7 Training Depot Station, which later became the Midland Area Flying Instructors School. It became officially known as RAF Feltwell on 29 November 1919, but was closed a year later.

RAF Feltwell was a seriously sized installation when it was photographed with deHavilland-4s and Sopwith Pups in May 1918 (contrast adjusted, cropped and resized from Simonb’s original photo at AirfieldResearchGroup).

The airfield was rebuilt during the period of expansion of the RAF in the late 1930s and therefore looks similar in layout to many of the other RAF airfields of that period. The airfield reopened on 12th March 1937 and was home to a number of heavy bomber squadrons of the RAF before and during the Second World War. The first operation was carried out on 15 November 1939 – a North Sea sweep against enemy shipping.

Units known to have been based at RAF Feltwell were:

214 Sqn (Apr. 1937– Feb. 1940) – Handley Page Harrow, sep 1939 conv. to Vickers Wellington I

37 Sqn (Apr. 1937– Nov. 1940) – Handley Page Harrow, sep 1939 conv. to Vickers Wellington I

57 Sqn (Nov. 1940–Aug. 1942) – Vickers Wellington I

75 (NZ) Sqn (Feb. 1940 – Aug.1942) – Vickers Wellington I

464 Sqn RAAF (Aug. 1942 – Apr. 1943) – Lockheed Ventura I & II

487 Sqn RNZAF (Aug. 1942 – Apr. 1943) – Lockheed Ventura I & II

192 Sqn (Apr. – Nov. 1943) – Mosquito, Wellington and Handley Page Halifax II & V

3 Lancaster Finishing School (Nov. 1943 – Jan. 1945) – Avro Lancaster

Very odd for a bomber base, the station never received hardened runways.

Vickers Wellingtons of Nos, 57 and 75 (New Zealand) Squadrons RAF can be seen parked in front of the hangars and on the airfield perimeter, as well as on pan-shaped hard-standings in the adjoining fields. Feltwell was one of the first stations to extend its dispersals from the airfield boundary. The airfield has been camouflaged with a field pattern (© IWM (HU 93048)).

From January 1945 onwards, all the RAF training resources were concentrated on the production of crews for long range flights in the Pacific theatre. For this a Gee-H Flight was established in January 1945 to train navigators in the use of new long range navigation devices. In February 1945 the Bomber Development Unit and 1688 Bomber Defence Training Flight also came to the station. The latter was a RAF Regiment unit also destined for service in the Far East.

Following the collapse of Germany in May a number of flights were made from this Station with ground crews as passengers to show them what their aircraft had achieved in the destruction of German industry during the war.

In April 1946, Feltwell severed it’s connection with Bomber Command when it was transferred to Flying Training Command and became home to 3 Flying Training School coming from South Carney. It was also home to 651 Sqn with Auster AOP6 aircraft, between 1955 and 1957. 3 F.T.S. disbanded at Feltwell in 1958.

Taken from

The two World Wars had a lasting impact on Feltwell. RAF Feltwell (NHER 4942) was used in both and continued in use until the 1960s. An additional satellite World War Two airfield (NHER 4937) connected to RAF Feltwell was built in 1939 and was in use until 1945. A World War Two gun emplacement and pillbox (NHER 16868) and another pillbox (NHER 32686) defended the main base. Despite the relatively rural nature of the parish the proximity of the RAF base and airfield meant there was some likelihood of bombing. An air raid shelter (NHER 40825) was discovered in the village when foundations for a new house were dug. A Lancaster aircraft on a training flight from RAF Mildenhall crashed in the parish in 1944. The crash site (NHER 18622) has since been excavated by the Anglian Aeronautical Preservation Society. After the two World Wars RAF Feltwell was used as a training base first by the RAF and later by the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). After the RAF gave up the site it became a satellite of the United States Army Air Force site at Lakenheath and is now the Deep Space Tracking Station. The large ‘golf balls’ on the site can be seen from long distances. Until recently a Cold War Thor missile launching site (NHER 41288) was located on the base.

Megan Dennis (NLA), 1 December 2005.

RankSort by Rank             Name, Number, Trade & DetailsSort by Last Name           DateCurrently Sorted by Date    UnitSort by Unit       CountrySort by Country                Cemetary/Memorial & Loc Ref

Corporal               John Desmond DODD (527613)                  1941-05-14          57 Sqdn AIR27   United Kingdom               Connah’s Quay Cemetery

Corporal John Desmond DODD (527613) of the Royal Air Force

Circumstances of Death: John Desmond DODD is one of the 6.16% of the airmen from the Second World War, whose cause of death is not known. Can you add details on how he died? Please contact us at admin ^ to let us know

That being said, 93.84% of the airmen killed during WW2 now have a cause of death established. Search our Database to find out more!

Death of Death 1941-05-14 Age : 25 years. Served in 57 Sqdn

Burial/Commemoration Details : Cons. Sec. Grave 460. at Connah’s Quay Cemetery, United Kingdom (Map)


I have downloaded from the National Archives, 2 different entries for 57 Sqn for the month of May 1941, there is no mention of John Desmond and can only suppose that he was either injured earlier or he died of something entirely different .   I found out that as a Corporal, hewould not have been flying.

I have found a death Certificate for a John D. DODD, age 26 at Ely, which spans the boundaries of the counties of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. (Ely Vol. 3b Page 1224).

I wanted to know how John Desmond died, so I asked the WW2talk Forum for help and JD said : –
“His rank would suggest he was in the RAF Regiment rather than flying crew, maybe that’s why he’s not in the records?”

 Ross commented:- “Dodd is listed as DOAS – died on active service and not KOAS – killed on active service.
The use of KOAS was normally enemy action – DOAS was usually a death from accident/illness/natural causes.
Registration at Ely is usually related to a death at the large RAF Hospital located there. A copy of the death certificate from the GRO will confirm cause. He may have been transferred from SSQ to Ely a few days or weeks before death.
Rather than Regiment Dodd would be RAFVR employed on ground duties eg aircraft servicing or a support function.”

Adding  – “Dodd’s service number is part of a pre war block issued to civilian entry.” 

Then Harry Ree added “No 57 Squadron was based at Feltwell from November 1940 having four types of Wellington in nearly two years,converting to Lancasters from September 1942 at Scampton.

Corporal Dodd detailed as a member of No 57 Squadron would have held a technical or administrative trade on the squadron as groundcrew.

Ely was one of the RAF regional hospitals, still open in the 1950s but closed down subsequently after a defence review.

Corporal Dodd’s wife as the NOK would have the right to chose the burial site for a death in the UK….hence Connahs Quay

Corporal Dodd is listed in the records as RAF, indicating that he was a regular as distinct to those who joined the service from 3 September 1939 who were deemed to be RAFVR.

There might be some information to be gained from the joint No 57 Squadron/No 630 Squadron Association regarding the death of Corporal Dodd…..the ORB might include details of such deaths.

Home – 57 & 630 Squadrons_Association

Harry ReeMar 8, 2018

Many thanks to all at the WW2talk Forum.

So we would have to purchase the death Certificate for John Desmond Dodd before we could say how he died.

However, he must be remembered for his sacrifice, without him, as Harry Ree states he may possibly have had a technical or administrative trade with the squadron as ground crew, without whom there would be no planes to fly.    John Desmond must have been missed and loved by his family, I don’t know why his name was not put forward to be added to the WW2 War Memorial.




Contents – Requiem aeternam

Eternal Rest Grant unto Them    Varia

This prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours is graced with a partial indulgence for souls in purgatory.

REQUIEM aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace. Amen.

ETERNAL rest grant unto him/her (them), O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him/her (them). May he/she (they) rest in peace. Amen.

From the Enchiridion of Indulgences #46 and the Raccolta #582 (S. C. Ind., Feb. 13, 1908; S. P. Ap., May 17, 1927)



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