Tuesday, 26 July 2011

T T Rodda

Thomas Tregilgus Rodda
Born 1872 in Newquay  Killed in Action 26 March 1917 Dunkirk?
Pte SS14208 Royal Army Service Corps

Thomas was born in Newquay around 1872.  His father was Nicholas John Rodda, a stone mason, and his mother was Jane Tregildous.  Nicholas was a brother of Richard Thomas Rodda, father of William Rodda.  Hence, Thomas and William were first cousins, despite a great disparity in age.  Nicholas and Richard were the sons of stone mason Henry Rodda and his wife Betsy, and both were born in St Blazey.  

Thomas, like his father and grandfather, became a stone mason later in life.  However, in 1891 at age 19 he was living at the Cornwood Inn in Devon, working as a carter.  Thomas married Ellen Mewton, a domestic servant, in 1895.  Ellen's parents, George and Elizabeth, were both Cornish, but several of their children, including Ellen, were born in Yorkshire.

Thomas and Ellen were living in Woodman's Tenement in Ladock, where Thomas made a living as a mason, when their first child Florence was born in 1896.  Thomas Charles was born in 1897, Claude Glencoe was born in 1901 but died the following year.  Other children were Clarence Wilfred (1902), Ernest George (1905), Ellen Iris Elizabeth (1912), Catherine Phylis Joan (1914) and Robert Frederick (1916).  Ernest was born in Newquay, so presumably the family moved into the town between 1902 and 1905.

When war broke out both Thomas and his son Thomas Charles, joined up.  Thomas Charles Rodda enlisted with the 1st Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.  Thomas Senior joined the Army Service Corps.  Once would have thought that Thomas Senior had the safer option; the 1st Cornwalls were in the thick of many battles of the war, but in fact it was the son who survived the war.  I cannot find out how Thomas died, although it was "in action".  He is buried at Dunkirk Town Cemetery.

Although Thomas Charles Rodda survived the war he died at a relatively young age in 1936.  His mother, Ellen, died in 1944.

UPDATE (23 August 2011):

I have been contacted by Thomas Rodda's grandson, Alan, who has solved the mystery of how Thomas died - it seemed very strange to me that Thomas was "killed in action" when he was away from the front line in Dunkirk.  The solution to the mystery is itself strange.  Thomas was asleep in a tent when an enemy aircraft dropped a bomb which fell through the tent and landed on Thomas.  Although the impact of the bomb killed Thomas, it did not explode and the two men on either side of Thomas were unharmed.

Mrs Rodda was left with seven children, three under the age of five.  Alan makes the point that she was herself a hero for bringing them up single-handed.


  1. Hi Treehouse,

    My name is Alan Wilson - Thomas Tregilgas Rodda was my Grandfather! I have lots of information to share with you but I'm unable to contact you via email - can you please provide me with your email address?



    1. Alan, Do you know if T.T.Rodda survived the loss of the troopship Royal Edward, before being sent to France?

      He would have been in the 18th Labour Company, whose nos. began SS.

      Thank you, Kathryn Atkin.

  2. Hi Alan

    Fantastic to hear from you - you can contact me at j.p.brown.hancock@gmail.com

    Looking forward to your email!

    Kind regards


  3. Hi Super Girl - great to hear from another of Thomas' descendants!