Major T. R. Dodd, Railway Pioneer Regt. - died of enteric at Germiston, 3.2.1901 2 months 2 weeks ago #71675
Thomas Richard Dodd, born at Fencehouses, Northumberland, in the first quarter of 1865.
DEATH OF MR T. R. DODD.
….It is with sincere regret that we have to announce the sad intelligence that Mr T. R. Dodd has fallen a victim to dysentery in South Africa. the news, which was first received by Mr John Raine, of Sunderland, on Tuesday afternoon, will cause a pang of keen sorrow to a very wide circle of personal and political friends in the North of England. The telegram ran, "Tom Dodd died dysentery, Simmer Hospital, Sunday night, 3rd. Peaceful end. Inform his family." The telegram, which was handed in at Germiston, was dated February 4, 12.5 p.m., and was sent by Mr Robert Raine. Since that message the following cablegram has been received from Cape Town, addressed to Mr Michael Dodd, J.P., who is now in Italy: - "4th February. Regret to inform you o9f the death of Major Dodd, Railway Pioneer Regiment, at Germiston, 3rd February, from dysentery. Break news to wife. - Casualty."
….Mr T. R. Dodd, who was widely known in the Northern Counties as an ardent propagandist in the Liberal cause, only returned to South Africa six months ago, and since his return to that country he had been engaged in organising a corps of railway pioneers. He held the rank of major, and when last heard of - about a fortnight ago - was in Cape Town. When he wrote then to his brother his illness had not seized him. He was busy raising recruits, drilling them, and sending them out to preserve the lines of communication.
….Locally he was a man very greatly esteemed in Liberal circles for the active services he rendered among a band of the ardent younger members of the party. His chief public work lay in connection with the County Council. He represented the Newburn Division on that body, and imported a consistent earnestness and steady application to the duties of the office, which very speedily won him a prominent position on the Council. The district he represented was one personally known to him, because he was associated with his brother, Alderman Michael Dodd, as mining engineer at Walbottle Colliery.
….The late Mr Michael Dodd, his father, farmed Black Hall, Hexhamshire, where his elder son was born. His second son, Mr Tom Dodd, was born at Murton Grange, near Fence Houses, which his father farmed after leaving Hexhamshire. Mr T. R. Dodd was widely known and greatly appreciated as a Primitive Methodist local preacher; in fact, he commenced to preach when quite a lad, and in such high esteem was he held that many willingly travelled miles to hear him. He was the central figure, from its commencement, at the Halliwell Temperance Festival in the Shire, and his name was sufficient to draw a large gathering whenever he appeared, on what he himself called "his native heath." His last visit was at the gathering of 1899, immediately after his return from South Africa, when he spoke on the Liquor Laws of the Transvaal. He was a keen sportsman, and thoroughly enjoyed trout fishing in the Devil's Water. We may say he was originally destined to follow his father's career as a farmer, but two or three years after the death of the late Mr Michael Dodd he gave up farming, to serve his time as a mining engineer. In due course he took out his certificate and became the mining engineer of Walbottle Colliery, with which his brother, Ald. Michael Dodd, is associated. It was during the seven or eight years he spent in that capacity that he made his mark among Northern politicians.
….In 1895 he went out to South Africa with Ald. Michael Dodd, and the brothers spent a considerable period in travelling over Cape Colony and the Transvaal. Finally Mr Dodd became associated with some mining enterprise in Johannesburg. He returned to England for a brief space to take his wife - a North-country lady - and his family out to the Transvaal. But before he returned his old friends gathered round him at a farewell dinner in the Newcastle Liberal Club, at which many references were made to the able work he did in these parts for the Liberal cause. A reminiscence of that gathering exists in a portrait handed over to the club by Mr R. O. Heslop on behalf of the subscribers. "It was appropriate," said Mr Heslop, speaking on March 31st, 1897, "now that he had gone to distant lands, that they should hang the portrait of this old soldier in their ranks on the walls of their club." In the troubles and trials which followed Mr Dodd, along with Mr C. D. Webb, was arrested under the Public Meetings Act for having organised an illegal meeting in the Market Place at Johannesburg for the purpose of presenting a petition from the Uitlanders to the British Vice Consul. But they were released upon bail of £1,000 each. The action caused much indignation, and called forth emphatic protests from English subjects. Shortly before the ex-president's ultimatum to Great Britain, which caused the outbreak of the present hostilities, Mr Dodd came to this country as the representative of the South African League. He attended many meetings in this district and in other parts of England and Scotland, and expounded the views of the Uitlanders, the need there was for reform, and the corrupt nature of the Boer Government.
….All meetings in this district which Mr Dodd addressed were crowded, and resolutions approving the Uitlanders' case and supporting Sir Alfred Milner in the attitude he took on the South African question were carried, Mr Dodd's speeches remarkable for the fluency and minute detail of the situation under Boer administration. He prosecuted his campaign in this country for some months, and returned to South Africa last year.
….The deceased, who was about 37 years of age, married the eldest daughter of Mr Christopher Grey of Wylam Hills, and now of Whitley. His widow and family are at present staying with his brother-in-law, Mr John Grey, in Northamptonshire.
….The Executive Committee of the Newcastle Liberal and Radical Association at its meeting on Tuesday night last instructed the general secretary of the association to convey to Alderman Dodd and the relatives of Mr Tom Dodd expression of the deep regret of the committee at the sad news which had been received, and sincere sympathy with them in their bereavement.
PUBLIC REFERENCES.….At the monthly meeting of the Newburn District Council on Tuesday, the Chairman (Mr Ralph Spencer) said he had another sad duty to perform. He had just heard that day that a late member of that Council had been taken from them. He referred to Mr T. R. Dodd. He was formerly a member of that Council and a very useful member, and now they heard of his sad death in South Africa. He was reminded that he had been serving his Queen and country in Kitchener's scouts. He moved that the Clerk write a letter expressing their great sympathy with his wife and family in the great loss they had sustained, and indeed it was a loss to the whole district. - The motion was unanimously agreed to.
….At the quarterly meeting of the Northumberland County Council on Thursday, Mr Watson Askew-Robertson referred with regret to the death of Mr T. R. Dodd. For six years at least he was a most useful member of this committee; he was most diligent and zealous in his services to the Council, and he was a most pleasant and genial colleague to work with. The Council regretted his loss as a member when he went abroad, and he was sure they would more deeply regret that they would never see him again in that hall taking part in county work. (Hear, hear.)
The Hexham Courant, Saturday 9th February 1901
THE LATE MR T. R. DODD.
LOCAL REFERENCES.….At the weekly entertainment, under the auspices of the United Temperance Council, in the Temperance Hall [Hexham], on Saturday evening. Mr R. J. Simpson, who presided, in the course of his remarks, said they would all note with regret the sad news that had come from South Africa as to the death of Mr T. R. Dodd. Mr Dodd was a man of great intensity of purpose, always true to his convictions, and as a politician incorruptibly pure. When Mr Dodd lectured in England he showed himself to be thoroughly conversant with the Transvaal problem and years before had said that he believed that the solution would not be found in a new form of constitutional government, but in war. No history of the Boer war would be complete without mention of Mr Dodd and the great part he had played in it. It seemed sad that he should be cut off when such a promising career lay before him.
AN APPRECIATION BY MR JOHN STUART.….Mr John Stuart, the special war correspondent of the "Morning Post" writes: - A very short experience of war and its chances will teach the ordinary man to acquiesce patiently in the decrees of Providence, but the death of Tom Dodd - to give him the name by which he was known in Johannesburg - is all but inconceivable to me, and seems inconceivably wrong. Other men from Johannesburg have died, and died bravely; there was greatness in their end, since they died for the flag. But Dodd's work was yet to do. He, perhaps more than any other, had led that mixed population which is Johannesburg to insist on war. After the Bloemfontein Conference, and probably some time before it, every suggestion or request made by the Uitlanders to the Imperial Government was a veiled demand for war, as the only wholesome alternative to a debilitating uncertainty. Chiefly by his speeches but in some less measure through his influence at the Council Board, Dodd had done more than any other man in Johannesburg to bring about this state of affairs.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS.….But his work was not yet done. We who had worked with him, admired him, who had followed him here or there, had doubted how his impetuosity might hinder or help, expected that his day in the Transvaal Colony would be great. His influence would have been most potent in the caucus of his party, for he was a keen hand at electioneering. Probably he would not have initiated legislation; that was not his "game." Certainly he would have helped to keep public life clean and untainted by corruption. Indeed, the war he waged so incessantly against the Transvaal Government was a war waged in the cause of political purity. I have seen him wither a man who suggested that the Reformers desired to upset Mr Kruger's Government because under a new Government the conditions of business would improve. And he had no dislike of the Boer. He opposed Mr Kruger on the question of clean government alone. Though he was an ardent and delightfully enthusiastic Imperialist, I fancy that Imperialism meant to him clean government and salutary British ways more than anything else.
IMPERIALISTIC WORK.….It was in 1895 that he left Northumberland for South Africa. He had fought for Mr John Morley and Sir Edward Grey. He was a Radical, and not in those days an Imperialist. He often used to tell me how the Colonies had changed his views on all matters of Imperial moment, and he used to long for a chance of explaining these matters to the English people, and especially to the Radicals with whom he still felt a strong intellectual kinship. In Johannesburg he worked as an engineer, chiefly dealing with coal mines. The years of boundless activity he spent there were not commercially productive. He must have died a poor man. He certainly made no profit out of his tour through the centres of British working class population, in the course of which he, speaking as a Radical to Radicals, did much to counteract the work of the Pro-Boers. From 1896 he was secretary of the Transvaal Province of the South African League, a body whose members are pledged to work for two causes in South Africa - Imperial supremacy and clean government. Most of them, of course, know that persistence in these aims would precipitate war. Dodd certainly did. None the less, he was willing to spend and be spent in the cause. Politics and religion were synonymous terms with him. He plunged into both with passionate fervour. I am told that he preached no over-straight nor over-stiff Gospel, but laid his chief stress on cleanness of life.
MR DODD AS A SPEAKER.….At a political meeting he was magnificent. I can see him now - the long, hatchet face, with thin, pale cheeks, flat level lips, and a long upper lip. He had that pale blue eye which is the enthusiast's. He always wore his hair a little too long, and never could be persuaded to abandon flannel for white linen. There - and not only there - you detected that slight touch of the actor which is essential to the orator. On the other hand, he had not that passion for the sound of his own voice which is the orator's failure. He preferred to speak briefly, and never more than once in an evening. Always he liked to have the audience armed up for him, for he rarely began well. But once he had got under way you lost sense of the tall ungainliness of the figure, the voice acquired mellow and melodious tones, the face was transfigured into an almost angelic beauty. Words excellently chosen followed each other in a fluent harmony, but rapid as "the red rush of fiery Phlegethon." He was magnificent in denunciation, a master of corn, but gentle at times as a kind child, and again logical and "dour." Whatever his mood he demanded in swift succession your acquiescence, your favour, your full support. Generally he got it. He could do almost what he liked with that hard Johannesburg audience, chiefly because he played straight for its emotions.
HIS INFLUENCE.….I suppose he and I disagreed on every subject on which men could disagree except on the one matter of the Empire, yet I admired him with a force equal in momentum to the intellectual disagreement. It was always a pleasant indulgence, an intellectual luxury, to submit one's mind to the vehement passion of his oratory. But as a man of high principle, even more than as an orator, he is a loss to the Transvaal Colony, for he carried into political life simple Christian manliness, faith in the ultimate triumph of good, devotion, and energy. I remember describing him in these columns as a Wesleyan Methodist. He was a Primitive Methodist, but in Johannesburg religious distinctions go for little. But Dodd never quite forgave me the slip. He thought that what was so important to him ought to have been equally important to me, and such earnestness was the secret of his great political influence.
The Hexham Courant, Saturday 16th February 1901
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Major T. R. Dodd, Railway Pioneer Regt. - died of enteric at Germiston, 3.2.1901 2 months 2 weeks ago #71678
The following user(s) said Thank You: BereniceUK
Major T. R. Dodd, Railway Pioneer Regt. - died of enteric at Germiston, 3.2.1901 2 months 2 weeks ago #71686
Strange that for someone who had a fairly prominent political career, even at a local level, there should be nothing relating to him online.
The Newcastle Liberal Club that had a portrait of him no longer seems to exist. Perhaps the portrait is at a museum in the city.
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