John Dodd AM

b. ?. d. ?

DATE OF AM ACTION: 09/08/1871 Formosa.

John Dodd AM

Little is known of the life of John Dodd other than the actions which led to his award of the Albert Medal.



During the raging of a very violent typhoon, which burst over the north coast of Formosa on the 9th August, 1871, the schooner “Anne,” of Hong Kong, and the French barque ” Adele” were amongst the vessels blown from their anchorage and driven on the rocky shore of Kelung Harbour. The night was very dark, with a blinding rain, and great quantities of wreck were floating in the water and being washed ashore in the surf; but, by the aid of a brilliant light of burning camphor, the position of the ships was made out from the shore. MR. AUGUSTUS RAYMOND MARGARY, Assistant in Her Majesty’s Consular Service in China, and MR. JOHN DODD, a British Merchant, at Ke-lung, had a rope fastened to their bodies and went into the surf with a view to aiding the crew of the schooner “Anne,” of Hong Kong, the nearest ship that could be discerned. Aiding each other, they waded and then swam a distance of some thirty or forty yards through the surf. The rope proved to be too. short, and they were compelled either to throw it away or to return to the shore. They threw the rope off and reached the ship by swimming. They then tried to reach the shore with a rope from the ship, and after making an unsuccessful effort to do this, they persuaded two volunteers to lower a small boat, which was done with great difficulty, in which MESSRS. MARGARY and DODD tried to row back with a rope. Their efforts were frustrated. The boat was turned completely over and MR. MARGARY was for a few moments underneath it. They were, however, thrown on shore with fortunately but few bruises. The ship was rpcking violently from side to side when they left her, but seemed to sustain no damage, and by the advice of the Captain, who appeared confident then of the strength of his ship, they desisted from further efforts, as there were more distressing cases calling for assistance further off. Timber was strewn on the beach and was beating amongst the rocks in such a way that little hope could be entertained of any living thing yet remaining; but an occasional wail of the sufferers in the sea induced MESSRS. MARGARY and DODD to persevere for several hours. They then with difficulty, effort, and danger, and in the dark, crawled over sandstone rocks of a peculiarly rugged nature, amidst breakers and wreck, until they arrived to within a short distance of the remains of the French, ship “Adele,” and by swimming they were able to make a connexion with her by a rope from the shore. MR. DODD swam” to seize the buoy which the Frenchmen threw over, while MR. MARGARY swam to meet him with the shore rope. They joined the two and immediately gained the deck, which was by this time shattered. With the aid of the rope the greater part of the crew passed safely to shore, when MR. DODD and MR. MARGARY discovered the boatswain lying half under water, with his leg completely broken above the ankle. They raised him and carried him on shore by swimming. They then made repeated efforts to cross the broken back of the ship, to save four men who remained cut off in the bows. These men were helplessly frightened, and could scarcely be got down. MESSES. MARGARY and DODD in the end succeeded, but were both washed down by a heavy sea, which caused much injury to MR. DODD. The last thing which left the ship was a black cat, which clung to Mr. MARGARY’S shoulder in spite of the heavy surf which was rolling Tover all, and when they left the ship she was actually breaking up beneath their feet.