herbert James henry Roddis

Name Herbert James Henry Roddis
Corps Northamptonshire Regiment 1/4 Battalion
Rank Private
Service No. 3903
Date/Place of entry
Date of death 15 October 1915
Memorial/Grave Port Said War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

The Binley family of Cottingham descended from Thomas Binley, born in Corby in 1802, and his wife Mary nee Reynolds of Cottingham whom he married in 1822. Thomas spent the rest of his life in Cottingham. A full account of the Cottingham and Corby Binleys can be found on the page of Charles Stephen Binley.

Shortly before Thomas married Mary and settled in Cottingham, his older sister Elizabeth married James Roddis, a shoemaker from Isham. Their son Augustine was born in 1825 and as an adult combined shoemaking with river toll collection at Oundle where he married Eliza Aldwinkle. Augustine moved to Northampton where he and his family lived at the Nene Navigation house. He was a full time toll collector here for many years before moving on to Dallington. Augustine was still listed as toll collector in 1911 when he was seventy six years old. The couple had two grandsons who served during the war, brothers William Augustine Roddis and Herbert James Henry Roddis.
Herbert James Henry was born in 1895 in Northampton and enlisted in the Northamptonshire Regiment 1/4 (Territorial) Battalion early in the war. His career was to be a short one. The 1/4 Battalion was made part of the 162nd Brigade, 54th (East Anglian) Division in May1915 and sent to Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay on 15th August. Despite initial failures, at this point the British Government still thought a breakthrough to the Dardanelles was possible. However the poorly organised August campaign was a disaster and living conditions for the soldiers were increasingly appalling. The Allied bases were badly situated and excessive heat, poor sanitation and too many unburied corpses exacerbated the situation. Many soldiers died in a dysentery epidemic that spread quickly through the Allied trenches.

Whether Herbert James was wounded in the fighting or succumbed to disease is not known. The former is statistically more likely as he ended up in hospital in Port Said, close to the Suez Canal. This was a key hospital centre throughout the war and took in many wounded soldiers from the Gallipoli campaign. Herbert James died there on 15th October. He was twenty years old and was buried in Port Said War Memorial Cemetery which holds 544 Commonwealth burials of the First World War.

Also among the dead at Gallipoli were Samuel Ernest Tansley,a descendant of the Cottingham Tansley family killed in action the week before Herbert James arrived, and Frank White, the seventeen year old son of a Rockingham butler  and also a soldier of the 1/4 Battalion. Frank died on 21st September 1915 and is buried near Suvla.

Binley servicemen to whom Herbert James was related are Sidney, Percy, Charles, George, and John Binley of Cottingham, John, George and Willis Panter of Cottingham, Albert Gear and Ernest Beeby descended from Cottingham; Wilfred, George Frederick, Percy Augustine and Bernard Binley, and his brother William Roddis all descended from the Corby Binleys.