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John Hampson Dodgshon: Sunday 1st October 1916

John joined the Honourable Artillery Company in July 1913, as a private and played rugby football for the Corps.  He went abroad as a private with the HAC in September 1914 and spent the first winter of the war fighting in Flanders and France. He was invalided home, and on his recovery was gazetted a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Surrey Yeomanry, Queen Mary’s Regiment, on 4 March 1915.

He served for six months in Egypt and was at the Dardanelles as Assistant Military Landing Officer. On his return to England, he declined a post as Assistant Equipment Officer in the Royal Flying Corps, as he felt he ought to take a more active part in the war. He obtained his “wings” on the 24th August 1916 and was made an instructor at the Central Flying School, Upavon on 7 September.

He was killed in an aeroplane accident, flying in B.E.2e No. 7075, whilst acting as Observer on the 1st October 1916. The crash report stated: “Crashed after elevator control disconnected, Wallis Down, Kinson, Branksome, Dorset. 2Lt John Hampson Dodgshon (23) killed, and Capt Harold Barker injured.” His is an example of how short the life expectancy of pilots was.  Accidents were as much a risk to the enemy. His mother was granted probate of his estate, worth £6,801/13/7. 

He is buried in Upavon Cemetery with a non CWGC headstone with a Celtic cross and was commemorated on Westminster School’s original Great War Memorial in their Great Hall; however, this was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War.

John was born on 29 July 1891 in Sutton. His late father, Edmund Dodgshon, was from Manchester, Jamaica and died in 1893.  His mother, Rose remarried Herbert Hooper (an auctioneer) in 1900 and they lived at 99 St James Rd.  He had an elder brother Edmund Charles 1888-1964, also born in Sutton.

In 1901 John was a boarder at a school in Sea Road Bexhill on Sea with his brother Edmund.  At the time Herbert was the licensee of the Cock Hotel in Sutton.  John went to Westminster School from May 1905 until Easter 1908 and was a member of the school cadet corps.  By 1911 Edmund was a land surveyor and John a bank clerk.  Both boys were living with the Hoopers who by this point had two more children Enid May born ~1905 and William Herbert born ~1902.