|Hughie (middle) Touring the Front with His Mates|
Born at Broken Hill, New South Wales, on 14 April 1894, Edward Gilmore (Hughie) Dodd was the second child of Jabez Edward Dodd and Florence Wilson (née Johnston). Hughie came to the Western Australian goldfields as a young boy of four years, where he lived at Coolgardie and later in 1899 at Brown Hill. He attended Brown Hill School and later the Kalgoorlie School of Mines, where he qualified as a fitter and turner, leaving formal education aged 14. When the family moved to North Perth, Hughie completed his apprenticeship as an engineer with Hoskins’ Foundry at Murray Street, Perth in 1914.
Hughie enlisted in Perth on 4 January 1916 at the age of 21 years and 8 months after serving in the 84th infantry (a local militia reserve). On 30 March 1916 he was appointed to the No. 6 Tunnelling Compay with the rank of "sapper" and was promoted to sergeant on 2 May 1916. He embarked from Australia on 1 June 1916 when this diary commences. It was transcribed verbatim by his grandson, Keith Hugh Dodd, and the original has been donated by the family to the Army Museum of Western Australia.
Hughie married his sweetheart, Lam (Alma Whiskin) in 1921 and they had two children, Alan and Joy. Alma’s orphaned niece, Lil Whiskin, also became part of their family, and all the children served their country during World War II. Hughie’s military records show repeated hospitalisations for treatment of trench fever, then tonsillitis. He was gassed in France and suffered the effects for the rest of his life.
|Damage from a Messines Mine Blown 7 June 1917 Documented by Hughie|
After the war, Hughie was employed by the Metropolitan Water Supply as Engineer-in-Charge of the Fremantle branch. He was a logical man, thinking through any problems. Foremen and construction workers treated him with respect and affection, bringing him news of work and gifts, when he was incapacitated. A kind, gentle person, Hughie was the hub of the Whiskin and Dodd families. He had a dry, quiet sense of humour and a terrific general knowledge.
Hughie died aged 63 on 27 November 1957 at the Repatriation General Hospital, Hollywood. His ashes were interred at the foot of the Memorial Wall in the Western Australian Garden of Remembrance in Smyth Road, Nedlands. A bronze plaque was erected on wall 9, row F.
His well-detailed and photo-supplemented diary describes Hughie’s activities at the front line maintaining and repairing pumps and electrical equipment for Australian tunneling units on the Western Front. Access the diary here: