Name: Nathaniel George Dobson
DoB: May 30 1892
Regt: 2nd Lieut Border
DoD: November 17 1918
Academic Career: CGS 1904-8
Biographical Information: Son of Nathaniel and Mary Dobson
Nathaniel was born and brought up in Harrington near Workington, he had five siblings. His father Nathaniel Smythe Dobson had begun his career as a commercial traveller and then settled in Harrington as a grocer. Nathaniel’s brother Charles followed their father into the family business. His grandfather Dobson had been a sea captain and his maternal grandfather was a miller.
Nathaniel was a keen cricketer and played in the school team. After leaving school he trained to become an electrical engineer and worked for the “Newcastle Power Station Company”.
Nathaniel had an extremely confused war service. After enlistment on Dec 2 1915 he joined the Artists Rifles and went into the reserves and he wasn’t mobilized until Feb 5 1917. His great- niece says that he had wanted to go into the Royal Engineers as he was an electrical engineer however he was put in the Royal Flying Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant! However things did not go well in the RFC, and within four months he was given a medical discharge as being permanently unfit to be a pilot or observer due to nervous instability!
He was recommended to be sent to the Royal Engineers but instead he ended up in the Border Regiment, attached to the 1st Cameronians. He was transferred back to the infantry on the Nov 3 1917.
Nathaniel arrived in Boulogne on October 15 1918, joined his unit six days later. On Oct 22 the battalion moved forward to positions near the Selle River. In the early hours of the following day, the battalion attacked reaching the northern edge of Vendecies Wood, where they took up positions. The following night, Oct 24/25 the positions were heavily shelled, with gas and artillery shells. On Oct 25 the battalion captured Ence Fontaine, Nathaniel according to the battalion war diary was wounded on the 25th, other sources say the 23rd. He had gunshot wounds to his left leg, and both arms. His right arm was amputated at the elbow. He had shrapnel wounds to his face too. He was moved from the casualty clearing station to the hospital in Rouen and died there three weeks later at 8.15am on November 17 1918. He was buried at the St. Sever Cemetery. His family had been given permission to travel to visit him in hospital when they received the news of his death just a week after the armistice had been signed.
Artists Rifles; RFC; Border Regt. & 1st Cameronians
Nathaniel’s RFC ID bracelet came up for sale and is now owned by a collector. His estate was worth £242 10s 2d. His mother applied for his medals in 1920. His family had “Called to Higher Service. The Brave never die” inscribed on his gravestone.
www.Ancestry.co.uk Probate Register
1861: RG9/3934 & 3944
1871: RG10/3571 & 5254
1901: RG13/2434 & 489
CGS Memorial Register
War Diary 1st Battalion The Cameronians