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John was born on 22 September 1898 in Wednesfield, the son of Richard and Elizabeth Ann Dodd. In 1911, they were living at 37 Wood End, Wednesfield, together with John’s brother Alfred and sister Fanny Elizabeth.

On 21 November 1916, John enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) and became a sergeant (number 58994). He was taken prisoner on 22 March 1918 at Morchies, having suffered from shrapnel shots to his right thigh. He died on 7 August 1918 at Hameln. He is remembered at the Niederzwehren Cemetery in Kassel, Germany, as well as on the Wednesfield Village Roll of Honour