March 11, 1893|
Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
|Died||October 8, 1980
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
|Hamilton, Ontario, Canada||Hamilton Cemetery, section R|
|Unit||No. 48 Squadron RFC/No. 48 Squadron RAF|
|Other work||Headed civil aviation division of Canadian Defense Department for 25 years|
Robert Dodds was born in Stoney Creek, Canada on 11 March 1893, to Margaret Dodds. He enrolled in the 129th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 3 January 1916 at Dundas, Canada. On his enlistment papers, he gave his occupation as fruit grower, stated he was single and lived on Rural Route 5 with his mother. Though he claimed no prior military experience, he belonged to the 77th Regiment of militia. He signed his enrollment form "R. Dodds, Lieut."
World War I
Dodds was posted to 48 Squadron as a Bristol F.2 Fighter pilot on 12 July 1917. Nine days later, Dodds shared in a victory with fellow aces Brian Edmund Baker and Robert Coath. Dodds scored his fifth victory on 21 October 1917 and closed out the year as an ace. A double victory on 9 January 1918, followed by three wins on 8 March, brought his total to ten.
His valor was not confined to air-to-air combat; on 19 March 1918, he led a bombing attack through heavy ground fire to bomb a German hangar from low level. He then circled the German airfield in his riddled plane as his squadron also bombed the enemy.
Both of these feats were cited when Military Cross (MC) was published in The London Gazette:
Lieutenant (Temporary/Captain) Robert Dodds, 1st Central Ontario Regiment and Royal Flying Corps
"...He has destroyed or driven down eleven enemy machines. On one occasion while on a one-machine patrol he attacked three enemy scouts, but owing to his gun jamming he was forced to withdraw from the attack. Though under heavy fire from the pursuing enemy he succeeded in remedying the defect, and then turned and attacked the enemy again. He destroyed one of them and drove down another out of control. Later, he led a bombing raid on an enemy aerodrome, and under intense machine gun fire from the ground dived to within 100 feet of the hangars before releasing his bombs. Though his machine was damaged, he remained at a height of 200 feet until the rest of his formation had dropped their bombs. His magnificent example of pluck and determination was of the greatest value to the squadron."
List of victories
|1||21 July 1917 @ 1800 hours||Bristol F.2 Fighter serial number A7153||Albatros D.III||Driven down out of control||Slijpe, Belgium||Dodd's ace observer was Lieutenant Thomas Tuffield|
|2||22 August 1917 @ 0905 hours||Bristol F.2 Fighter s/n 7222||Albatros D.III||Driven down out of control||Ghistelles, Belgium||Observer Tuffield|
|3||3 September 1917 @ 0815 hours||Bristol F.2 Fighter s/n 7222||Albatros D.III||Destroyed by fire||North of Dixmude, Belgium||Observer Tuffield. Otto Hartmann KIA|
|4||3 September 1917 @ 0815 hours||Bristol F.2 Fighter s/n 7222||Albatros D.III||Driven down out of control||North of Dixmude||Observer Tuffield|
|5||21 October 1917 @ 1245 hours||Bristol F.2 Fighter s/n B1134||Albatros D.V||Driven down out of control||Clemskerke||Observer ace Lieutenant Arthur Cyril Cooper|
|6||9 January 1918 @ 1140 hours||Bristol F.2 Fighter s/n B1182||Rumpler reconnaissance plane||Driven down out of control||Caudry, France||Observer Lieutenant W. Hart|
|7||9 January 1918 @ 1150 hours||Bristol F.2 Fighter s/n B1182||Albatros D.V||Driven down out of control||Willencourt, France||Observer Lieutenant W. Hart|
|8||morning of 8 March 1918||Bristol F.2 Fighter s/n C4606||Pfalz D.III||Destroyed by fire||La Fère, France||Observer Lieutenant D. Wishart-Orr|
|9||morning of 8 March 1918||Bristol F.2 Fighter s/n C4606||Pfalz D.III||Destroyed by fire||La Fère||Observer Lieutenant D. Wishart-Orr|
|10||8 March 1918 @ 1600 hours||Bristol F.2 Fighter s/n C4606||Reconnaissance two-seater||Driven down out of control||Bellecourt-Quesnoy||Observer Lieutenant D. Wishart-Orr|
Post World War I
On 4 May 1919, Dodds was seconded from 1st Central Ontario Regiment to the Royal Air Force as an acting captain; simultaneously, he relinquished his RAF commission and went on the unemployed list.
Dodds then returned to Canada and helped found the Hamilton Ontario Aero Club. He managed International Airways and supervised airmail operations in eastern Canada.
There was a Trans-Canada Airlines landing crash of a Lockheed Electra 14 (Registration CF-TCP) at Armstrong, Thunder Bay District, Ontario on 6 February 1941, killing 12; Chief Airline Inspector Dodds as chairman of the Federal Board of Inquiry arranged for removal of the crash debris to Winnipeg to aid in the accident investigation. This crash investigation was in addition to his ongoing administrative duties during World War II, providing airfields for use under the Empire Air Training Plan. He won the Order of the British Empire for this World War II service.
In 1950, he was promoted to Controller of Civil Aviation, putting him effectively in charge of Canada's civil aviation infrastructure.
- Robert Dodds' Attestation Paper - The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War I Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- (Supplement to the London Gazette, 19 April 1917) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30027/supplements/3736 Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- Robert Dodds - The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War I Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- (Supplement to the London Gazette, 9 March 1918) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30566/supplements/3064 Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- http://www.canadaveteranshallofvalour.com/DoddsR.htm Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- (Supplement to the London Gazette, 13 May 1918) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30681/supplements/5705 Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- (Supplement to the London Gazette, 28 May 1919) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/31363/supplements/6616 Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- (The London Gazette, 17 June 1919) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/31406/supplements/7708 Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- (Flight, 10 August 1959, p. 168) http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1950/1950%20-%201494.html Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- "Board Arrives To Open Probe In Plane Crash". The Ottawa Citizen. Wagaming, Ont. 8 February 1941. p. 13. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- http://www.baaa-acro.com/Compagnies%20T/Trans%20Canada%20Airlines.htm Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- http://www.planecrashinfo.com/1941/1941.htm Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Pilot Preparing To Land Normally When Crash Came". The Ottawa Citizen. 11 February 1941. p. 8. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Bring Out Wreckage At All Costs". The Ottawa Citizen. 12 August 1957. p. 1. Retrieved 24 May 2011.