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Person Details
01 Feb 1894
Alfred Frederick Otterbine was the only child of Alfred Thomas Carrick Dobson and his first wife Louise Lucille (née Merme?). His father Alfred Thomas Carrick was born in Nottingham on 28 March 1859 (bap. 30 April 1969 St Barnabus RC church), the son of William Ebenezer Dobson, a lace manufacturer, and his first wife Sabina (née Pearson) whom he married in 1855. They had at least three other children, John G. b. 5 October 1857 bap. St Barnabus RC 23 October 1857; Clara Whilemina Reta b. 1861 bap. 13 May 1861 and Charles Frederick b. 9 September 1862 bap. 27 September 1862. Sabina died in 1867 (J/F/M Hastings) aged about 43 and William married secondly Martha Downing Stevens (née Adlington) in 1871. Martha was a widow who had two children, Augusta Martha (b. abt 1866) and William Brooke, by her first marriage. She and William had three sons: Bernard Patrick b. 1873, Ignatius Richard A b. 1875 and Edward Joseph b. 1877. Martha died on 24 October 1879 and William married Mary Jane Young in 1882 by whom he had one son, Theodore Young b. 12 December 1883 (reg. 1884) bap. St Barnabus RC 17 December 1883. William, five of his children and his stepdaughter Augusta, were living at Ravine House, 23 Lenton Road, Nottingham, in 1881 but on Standard Hill, The Park, in 1891. William Ebenezer died on 31 January 1901. Alfred Thomas was at boarding school in Somerset in 1871 but has not yet been traced on either the 1881 or 1891 Census. However, he was recorded on subsequent census as a lace manufacturer, presumably in his father's business. Alfred married Louisa Lucille (known as Lucille) in 1891 (J/A/S Fylde Lancashire) and they had one child, Alfred Frederick Otterbine, b. 1 February 1894. Lucille died in 1900 (O/N/D Nottingham) aged about 31. In 1901 her husband and son Alfred Frederick (7) were living at 23 Lenton Road, Nottingham, with his widowed stepmother, Mary Jane Dobson, half brothers, Richard (25) and Theodore (17), and step sister Augusta Martha Stevens. Augusta had continued to live with her stepfather, William, after the death of her mother in 1879. The family employed a cook and two housemaids. Mary Jane Dobson died on 11 October 1921. Alfred Thomas married Augusta Martha Stevens in 1902 (O/N/D Kingston Surrey). In 1911 they were living at The Yews, High Road, Beeston; his son was at boarding school in Lancashire. Augusta died on 18 August 1914 (burial General Cemetery) and Alfred Thomas died at The Yews on 22 October 1932 (burial General Cemetery 25 October 1932).
He was educated at Stonyhurst College on the Stonyhurst Estate near Clithero in Lancashire. Arthur Conan Doyle also attended this Independent Roman Catholic School. During his time there, Alfred Dobson distinguished himself as an athlete and sportsman. He was a solicitor and partner in the firm of Messrs. Browne, Son.
15 Jun 1915
154947 - CWGC Website
8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
He joined the Army after leaving school. By 1913, as a second lieutenant, he was in joint command, with 2nd Lieutenant G Clarke, of F Company 2/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, based in Arnold, Nottingham. By May 1915, he was with the 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. On August 4th, the Battalion was in the Newark area with many of the new recruits joining from the outlying district. The battalion formed part of the Notts & Derby Brigade (the 5th, 6th, and 7th Sherwood Foresters, making up the rest of the brigade). The brigade was one of the 46th North Midland Division, the first all Territorial divisions to fight in the Great War. In 1914 the brigade trained at Harpenden and then Braintree. It was while he was stationed in this area that Dobson was promoted to the rank of Temporary Lieutenant in November 1914. The battalion disembarked in France 12 May1915. Previously a member of "D" Company, Lieutenant Dobson was put in command of the Battalion Machine Gun Section. Early in June the Brigade was in the West Flanders area around the village of Kemmel some five miles South West of Ypres. At 21.00 hrs on 15 June 1915 the enemy exploded three mines under the trenches occupied by the 8th Battalion causing many casualties. This took place as 7th Sherwood Foresters (Robin Hood’s) were relieving the 8th Battalion. The enemy, with artillery, trench mortar, rifle, grenade and machine gun fire, opened-up a terrific bombardment which lasted over an hour. Telephone wires were destroyed resulting in Battalion Headquarters being unable to communicate except by runner. With shells being in short supply allied artillery was virtually non-existent. The battalion machine guns occupied a position in the centre of a front line trench and took considerable enemy fire. It was during this action that a shell splinter seriously wounded Lt. Dobson. Meanwhile, Lieutenant A.M. Williams commanding the Robin Hoods Machine Gun Section was taking part in the relief of the 8th Battalion and went to the wounded officer's assistance. As he neared Lt. Dobson, another shell burst killing both men instantly. Lt. Williams was the first officer from the 7th Battalion killed in action. Lieutenant Dobson was buried in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium (grave ref. D. 64). CWGC - Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery (extract): 'Kemmel Chateau was north-east of Kemmel village and the cemetery was established on the north side of the chateau grounds in December 1914. It continued to be used by divisions fighting on the southern sectors of the Belgian front until March 1918, when after fierce fighting involving both Commonwealth and French forces, the village and cemetery fell into German hands in late April. The cemetery was retaken later in the year.'
CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'R.I.P.' WMR 42639: Stonyhurst College war memorial, Stonyhurst, Lancashire BB7 9PX Alfred is also commemorated in the Stonyhurst War Record, school copyright. (www.worldwar1schoolarchives.org) 1/8th Bn casualties, 15 June 1915, buried in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery: Lieut AFO Dobson (grave ref. D.64), Lieut WH Hollins (D.70), Cpl F Wilcox (D.71), Privates AE Armitage (D.65), B Cox (D.67), FW Hill (D.66), P May (D.72), RW Moakes (D.69) and W Richardson (D.68) buried Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery and Privates OL Bryan and A Cook commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Nottingham Evening Post, 7 August 1914: ‘There were enthusiastic scenes at Arnold this afternoon when the local company of Territorials paraded in the Drill Hall, preparatory to entraining for Newark. The company is 91 strong and is commanded by Lieut Clarke and Second-Lieut. Dobson. The crowd gave the men a splendid send-off.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Article published on 18th June 1915 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “ONE SHELL KILLS TWO NOTTM. LIEUTENANTS. “FIRST ROBIN HOOD OFFICER TO FALL IN ACTION. “The sad news has been received of the death action of Lieut. A. E. Dobson, of the 8th Sherwood Foresters, the only son of Mr. A. T. Dobson, of The Yews, Beeston; and of Lieut. Montague Williams, of the 7th (Robin Hoods) Sherwood Foresters, a member of the firm of Browne, Son, and Williams, solicitors, of Nottingham. “From the information conveyed by Colonel G. H. Fowler, of the 8th Sherwoods, and the Rev. J. P. Hales, the chaplain to the 8th Battalion, it appears that the two officers were together in charge of machine gun sections when the Germans sprang a mine under one of the trenches. They followed this up with heavy gun fire, and then charged, but were beaten back. A shrapnel shell, however, fell close to both officers and killed them. “Mr. Williams is the first officer of the Robin Hoods to lose his Life. “Lieut. Dobson was the only child of Mr. A. T. Dobson, and was 21 years age. He was educated at Stonyhurst College, and he joined the 8th (Territorial) of the Sherwood Foresters at the outbreak of the war. He played cricket for several seasons with the Notts. Amateurs, and he was also member of the Notts. Hockey Club. “Lieut. Williams, who was about 31 years of age, joined the Robin Hoods about six years ago, and was an extremely popular young officer. He was in company with Major Basil Baily when he was wounded some weeks ago, and assisted to remove him to the dressing station. “Lieut. Williams was a solicitor in practice in Nottingham, having served his articles with Capt. J. A. H. Green, and latterly been a partner in the firm of Messrs. Browne, Son, and Williams. For some time he was secretary of the Nottingham Children’s Hospital, and one of the honorary secretaries of the Notts. branch of the Red Cross Society, and in those capacities performed most useful work. He was also a member of the Newstead Lodge of Freemasons. “It is a remarkable coincidence that Mr. A. T. Dobson, the father of Lieut. Dobson, played for Notts. F.C., and was an international against Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, whilst the late Mr. Arthur Williams, the father of Lieut. Williams, was the enthusiastic chairman of the Notts. Club in the early 90’s, and was mainly responsible for bringing about its reconstruction. “COMMANDING OFFICER’S SYMPATHY. “The Late Lieut. Dobson’s father has received the following touching letter from the commanding officer of the 8th Battalion, dated June 16th: “Dear Mr. Dobson, — l am writing with the greatest sorrow to tell you that Eric was killed in action to-day by a shrapnel shell. The Germans started a bombardment of our trenches suddenly at 9.15 in the evening, and he was hit, and died almost at once in the trenches. The machine gun officer of the 7th Battalion (Robin Hoods) was killed at his side. I believe they were working together. “I can’t say how sorry I am for you in this great trouble. He had endeared himself to us all, and he was a sterling good soldier. I knew he always said that he wouldn’t mind what happened so long as he died in action. Poor fellow. He has had his wish. “We shall miss him immensely, and I know I am voicing the wishes of his brother officers and his machine gun section in expressing to you the great sympathy feel for you and his family in your trouble. Will let you know when and where he will be buried in a post or two. With kindest regards, believe me ever, yours sincerely, “G. Herbert Fowler. Lieut.-Colonel. “SIMPLY SPLENDID. “The Rev. J .P. Hales, in a letter to Mr. Dobson, adds: Your dear boy was simply splendid, and stuck to his guns magnificently, doing good work, but it cost him his life. The last few weeks he and I became great friends. I think everyone had got to like him immensely.” Above article is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 Probate: Dobson Alfred Frederick Ottobine of the Yews Beeston Nottinghamshire lieutenant in HM Army died 15 June 1915 at Belgium Administration Nottingham 28 July to Alfred Thomas Carrick Dobson [father] lace manufacturer. Effects £1062 16s. 8d. Nottingham Evening Post, 22 October 1932: ‘Local Director’s Death. The death occurred late last night of Mr Alfred T Dobson, of the Yews, High-road, Beeston, at the age of 73. He was the son of the late Mr WE Dobson JP of The Park, Nottingham, and was a director of the firm of Dobsons and M Browne and Co Ltd,. lace curtain manufacturers, Queen’s-road, Nottingham.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, 25 October 1932. Report of the funeral at the General Cemetery of Alfred T Dobson. Service at RC Cathedral Derby road. Mourners inlcuded: Mr and Mrs Baines (Francis Edmund m. Clara Wilhelmina 1897 J/A/S Nottingham), Mr B Dobson (Bernard Patrick) & Mr T Dobson (Theodore). Yew Tree Lodge is now the site of warden aided flats and social complex in Union Street, Beeston, Nottingham.
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  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph Murray Biddle
    Alfred Frederick Otterbine Dobson - Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph Murray Biddle