Dodds, John Reginald (Flight Lieutenant, b.1917 - d.1944)

Place Europe: Germany
Accession Number AWM2016.70.1
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 3 wallets: 4 cm
Object type Diary
Maker Dodds, John Reginald
Place made At sea, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom: England
Date made 1941-1944
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain

Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition
Source credit to This item has been digitised with funding provided by Commonwealth Government.
Description

Collection relating to the Second World War service of 403838 Flying Officer John Reginald Dodds DFC, 460 and 156 Squadron RAAF. Collection consists of a diary written by Dodds in 27 very descriptive instalments, each sent home to his mother and father in the Macleay River area on the NSW coast of Australia. Some of the instalments are sewn together with black cotton in booklet form.

The 1st instalment commences in November 1941 as he embarked from Sydney and covers his trip to Canada via the Pacific Islands. The 2nd instalment commences in December 1941 and covers his departure from Canada, arrival in the north of England and describes different cities in England as he travels south to London. The 3rd instalment commences in January 1942 and covers sightseeing in London, and training in camp. The 4th instalment commences March 1942 and covers his arrival at RAF Harwell station, lectures and flight training. The 5th instalment commences late April 1942 and covers more training, sightseeing, move to RAF Mount Farm station for practice bombing raids, issued with a Wellington plane. The 6th instalment commences late June 1942 an covers flying further afield - Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar where they crash land. The 7th instalment commences in July 1942 and ends in September 1942 and covers his stay in Gibraltar, describes other crash landings there while waiting for his plane to be repaired, the breaking up of their crew, the long and troubled flight back to the UK, leave in London then Scotland.

The 8th and 9th instalments (pages 165 to 185) are missing. The 10th instalment commences in November 1942 and covers bombing raids over Stuttgart, Turin, and Mannheim where they became lost on the return flight, ran out of fuel and had to parachute to safety. The 11th instalment commences in December 1942 and covers more raids over Turin, Duisberg, and Munich. The 12th instalment commences late December 1942 and covers a period leave in Scotland, lack of flying due to the cold weather, and mentions a few deaths. The 13th instalment commences late Jan 1943 and covers raids over Hamburg, Cologne, Turin, Lorient, Wilhelmshaven, Milan, Nuremberg, the U-boat base at St Nazaire, Berlin, talks about receiving letters from home, and a holiday at Chard. The 14th instalment commences in March 1943 and covers raids over Hamburg, the Krupp works at Essen, Nuremberg, Munich, Stuttgart, Duisberg, Berlin, and talks about the loss of bombers and crews. The 15th instalment commences in April 1943 and covers raids over Duisberg, the naval base at La Spezia, the Skoda arms and ammunition works near Pilsen, Stettin (now known as Szczecin), more losses, and hoping this would be the end of his first tour and looking forward to 6 months rest at a training centre. The 16th instalment commences in late April 1943 and a break in Manchester, time in London, being stationed at Binbrook, talks about gliders, and being posted to Blyton. The 17th instalment commences in June 1943 and covers training at Blyton, leave in Scotland, promotion to Warrant Officer, and letters from home. The 18th instalment commences in August 1943 and he talks obtaining a commission and a reunion of many of the old squadron members. The 19th instalment commences in September 1943 and covers letters from home, a flight over Ireland, a trip to Scotland, and learned he had gained his commission.

The 20th instalment commences in October 1943 and covers getting being fitted for his new officers uniform, air raid sirens in London, transferred to a fighter command near Scunthorpe in the north of England. The 21st instalment commences in November 1943 and covers his continuing instructional duty. The 22nd instalment commences in December 1943 and covers possible future work with Path Finder Force, and the search for a missing plane. The 23rd instalment commences late December 1943 and covers a move to another base. The 24th instalment commences January 1944 and covers further training, allocation of new plane, and USAAF planes. The 25th instalment commences February 1944 and describes a special visit by the King and Queen, Frankfurt (a feint for an attack on Berlin), and a bombing attack while staying in London. The 26th instalment (pages 405-414) is missing. The 27th and final instalment commences in March 1944 and covers bombing raids over Frankfurt, Nurenberg, Cologne, the marshalling yards Laon (a feint for an attack on Dusseldorf), Karlsruhe, Berlin where their plane was hit, losses, his promotion to Flying Officer, leave in Scotland, letters from home. The last entry is for 27 April 1944 and reads: 'Fine day - flying on ops with the Wing Commander again tonight...' - the remainder of the writing pad remains blank. Dodds and the rest of his crew was killed in action on that night's mission over Friedrichshafen. Dodds was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in April 1944 for completing many successful operations as an Wireless Operator against the enemy, in the course of which he invariably displayed high skill, fortitude and devotion to duty.