Bryan Dodsworth. RIP.

Discussion in 'Memorials & Cemeteries' started by CXX, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. CXX

    CXX New Member

    Bryan Dodsworth - Telegraph

    Bryan Dodsworth , who has died aged 89, won an MC in 1944 for braving enemy mortar and shell barrages to direct Allied artillery fire after the Normandy landings; his diaries record his courage in remaining in position despite a conviction that he would be blown to bits at any moment.

    His voyage to the beachhead on June 6 1944 did not begin well. Dodsworth, then a captain in 3 Combined Operations Bombardment Unit (COBU), was soaked to the skin while transferring to his landing craft, which was tossing about like a cork. Worse, when he got ashore, he was told that his Jeep had “drowned”.

    Nobody at HQ seemed very interested in his predicament, but when Dodsworth pointed to the battleships Warspite and Rodney and said that he was their forward observer bombardment officer, he was given a new vehicle within 15 minutes.

    As Dodsworth drove into an orchard, he was caught in the middle of a heavy concentration of shelling and deserted the Jeep to take shelter by a tank. The shells came in “one at a time”, he said afterwards, “but [the bombardment was] hideously prolonged”. He crawled into a shallow ditch, but the next two shells landed on each side of him; as he jumped out, more fell in the spot which he had just left. He persevered to reach his final observation post, from where he could see 200 enemy tanks and other vehicles, and called down fire from the battleships on to this target.

    A few moments after this, a succession of about 30 shells, whose provenance was hard to discern, rained down on him. Notes in his diary that he carried with him read: “Grovel in the bottom of a trench — feel we cannot hope to get away this time — crash, crash, crash, one after the other — compress myself smaller — heaven knows how near they are — have ceased to care — get up very shaken indeed.”

    Bryan Leonard Charles Dodsworth was born in York on May 11 1920, and educated at Rugby before going up to Trinity College, Oxford. For a bet, he drove a golf ball through the city centre and bought a Hardy fishing rod with the proceeds.

    He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1941 and served with 27th Field Regiment RA and 104 (Essex Yeomanry) RHA in North Africa.

    Dodsworth moved to 3 COBU in January 1944 and, in October, after the Normandy campaign, he was attached to 47 (Royal Marine) Commando for the assault on the islands of Walcheren in the Scheldt estuary. On this occasion his vehicle, the amphibious Weasel, was hit on the way to the shore and the radio equipment was swamped. Despite these setbacks, he carried out 11 shoots with Erebus on enemy coastal batteries.

    After a spell with 1 COBU, Dodsworth was demobilised. Between 1946 and 1948 he did his articles with the family firm of solicitors and then joined Raleigh Industries.

    On his first day in the office, he had to help his boss, the then company secretary, escape from a vengeful female employee, with whom he had been having an affair, by lowering him from a second-floor window. The man touched down only to be confronted by another woman with an identical grievance. The next day, with some relief perhaps, the company secretary resigned in favour of Dodsworth.

    Fast cars held a great attraction for him. In 1955 he was watching the Le Mans 24-hour race when a Mercedes collided with a slower vehicle and somersaulted, sending damaged parts into the crowd. Dodsworth saw the car flying through the air 200 yards away and threw himself flat on the ground. Many spectators were killed.

    A lifelong supporter of York City, he enjoyed football and also ornithology. An enthusiastic gardener, he was president of the Iris Society and was awarded the Dykes Medal on 12 occasions.

    Bryan Dodsworth died on June 26. He married first (dissolved), in 1948, Pauline Elmhirst. He married secondly, in 1977, Jill Rosalind Bruce, who survives him with two sons and a daughter of his first marriage.
  2. Reccemitch

    Reccemitch Member

    Bryan Dodsworth RIP


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