Rank: Private
Number: Deal/10644/S
Unit: Labour Corps ROYAL MARINE
Date of Death: 21 November 1917
Age: 47
Cemetery: Dunkirk Town Cemetery, Dunkerque, Pas de Calais, France

Very little is known for certain about Thomas Joddrell. It is an uncommon name and he was probably the Tom Joddrell whose birth was registered at Bollington in 1870. When the Census was taken in 1901, this man was then living in Fernilee, Derbyshire, working as a miner. He was married to Hannah and they had two children – Jane (then 6) and Fred (2).

The Thomas Joddrell commemorated on the South Reddish and Stockport War Memorials lived at 40 Coronation Street with his wife and seven children. If it is the same man, he had changed jobs and, before he enlisted, was working for local cotton spinning company, Johnsons Ltd , at its Dark Mill.

Shortly after the War started, there was a realisation that there were insufficient troops in France to unload supplies from ships crossing the channel. Accordingly, two Companies of the Army Service Corps were formed to carry out the work. The liaison between the army supplying the labour and the navy crewing the ships never really worked well and, in 1916 a decision was taken to transfer the companies  and rename them as the Royal Marine Labour Corps. Recruitment was opened in Britain to bring the Corps up to full strength and it was intended that only men aged over 41 would be enlisted, This was above the normal recruiting age for the fighting services and allowed older men to “do their bit”. Over 1100 men would work at Dunkirk.

Although much safer than being in the trenches, it was not without its risks as the ports were regularly bombed by the Germans. Thomas, however, is believed to have died from natural causes.

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