Kenneth Vernon Dodgson – People behind the Names

Kenneth Vernon Dodgson was born in Harrow on the 25th June 1891 to Reverend Francis Vivian and Constance Mary Dodgson. His father, Reverend Francis Vivian, had previously been the Chaplain to Dr Barnardo’s Home. Kenneth was educated at King’s School Canterbury where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps, he went on to Pembroke College, Oxford where he would win his college colours for rugby and serve as a Private in the Oxford University Officer Training Corps. Kenneth enlisted for service at the outbreak of war, in his application he expressed a preference for a commission in either the 3rd Battalion Devonshire Regiment, the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment or the East Kent Regiment. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Devonshire Regiment on the 21st of August 1914 and was promoted to Lieutenant on the 5th of February 1915. Following training in the UK he embarked for France with his battalion from Southampton on the 25th of July 1915 and disembarked at Le Havre at 7.30am the next morning. The 25th of September 1915 was the opening day of the Battle of Loos The battalion crossed and took Breslau Trench in only 12 minutes with Kenneth Dodgson being one of the few officers who made it to the objective but he was overwhelmed by chlorine gas in Breslau Trench and his body was not recovered

His father, Francis, received the following telegram dated the 1st of October 1915: – “Deeply regret to inform you that Lt. K.V. Dodgson 8th Devon Regt. was killed in action between 25th + 27th Sept. Lord Kitchener expresses his sympathy.” Kenneth’s mother would die in 1930, she was president of the women’s British Legion and died in Surrey, her grave at Mortehoe Cemetery was lined with laurels and hydrangea blooms.

In the same year, the Rev. Vivian Dodgson offered a site in the gardens of Sunny Cliff, Mortehoe to be used as a garden for the British Legion Institute’s ex-Service men. The offer was made on the evening of Armistice Day: “As you know Mrs. Dodgson was always interested, in the cause of ex-Service men. Our elder son, Kenneth Dodgson served and gave his life at Loos in 1915. For his sake, Mrs. Dodgson, the late president of the Women’s Section of the British Legion always had at heart the interests of ex-Service men, and it was her delight to welcome them to Sunnycliff on the evening of Armistice Days. During her lifetime she often expressed the wish to offer a site in Sunnycliff garden for an institute, if no other site was available. I am now in the position to make this offer in the name of my family. The Rev. Vivian Dodgson would die in 1940, his funeral taking place in Mortehoe where he had resided for several years, and where he had made many friends during his time as a preacher and speaker on behalf of Dr Barnardo’s Homes The picture opposite shows the East window of the South transept of the Church. It is a simple lancet window and probably was installed when the South Transept was built in around 1307. The glass is modern and was given in 1946 in memory of three members of the Dodgson family. The window depicts the Virgin and Child. At the top of the window is the badge of the Royal British Legion probably connected to the people commemorated by the window.

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