Countdown to armistice (3) - Chief Inspector John Dodman

Today we share the story of one of the officers who fought and survived the War, returning to policing in the West Midlands and eventually policing through the Second World War.

Born in Norfolk in February 1895, Chief Inspector John Kenneth Dodman gave his former occupation as a farmer before he joined Birmingham City Police on the 19th November 1913. Like so many other Birmingham officers he was to join the Armed Forces and in May 1915 he became a member of the Oxfordshire Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery where he remained for the next three years.

John re-joined the police in May 1918. It is not documented why he left the Armed Forces before the end of the war but in an interview he gave for the Sunday Mercury on the 26th November 1944 he makes reference to one of his legs being ‘smashed up’ in WWI.

In October 1922 John was promoted to sergeant and appointed to act as curator of the Victoria Law Courts. Further promotion followed in 1930 when he was promoted to inspector. He continued to work in the courts and on the night of the 9/10th April when he was caught in the bomb blast he suffered a severe injury to his right leg. Sadly this injury was to plague him throughout the remainder of his service and resulted in him having numerous operations over the next few years. His final promotion was to chief inspector in January 1942. He continued to work in the courts and was eventually medically pensioned out of the service due to his injuries in September 1948 with his service record marked exemplary.

His retirement was reportedly widely in the local press with many plaudits from Judges and barristers alike for his efficient running of the courts whilst he was curator. John was a larger than life character who was clearly very highly thought of. He was not initially to enjoy retirement as he was in need of two further major operations to what is described as ‘considerable injuries’ from the bombing to remove an aneurysm of both popliteal arteries. John died on the 9th January 1965.