John Fritz Kivas Dobbs

John Fritz Kivas Dobbs was born on 15 Nov 1888 in Castlecomer, Ireland, the son of Joseph Dobbs JP. He attended Shrewsbury School and left in 1906 for Sandhurst. He joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers with a commission and became a full Lieutenant in 1910.

John Fritz Kivas Dobbs - 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers - Godfather to Hazel Downing

John Fritz Kivas Dobbs – 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers – Godfather to Hazel Downing

He appears to have been a close friend of Wilmot Evans, a contemporary at Shrewsbury, and was in good contact with both Molly Evans and Noel Downing in Hagley over a number of years as we have a large number of photos/postcards of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in training. Some of these are annotated – most notable is a photo of whaling off the Magellan Straits

Lieut F Dobbs had been chosen by Ernest Shackleton, similarly Anglo-Irish, to be in charge of the Dogs on SS Endurance for the famous 1914 expedition.  However, at the very last minute in Aug 1914 already in the South Atlantic, he rapidly returned to Europe to his battalion at the outbreak of war.

Just a few weeks later, in early fierce fighting at the Battle of Le Cateau, Lieut JFK Dobbs and his unit were surrounded and he was presumed dead “missing in action” (Kildare Observer 12 Sep 1914). Later he appeared as listed as a POW. He was promoted to Captain in Dec 1914. He thus seems to have survived the war largely by being in German hands for a considerable time. He was awarded the Military Cross, apparently for his repeated efforts to escape, being recaptured on a number of occasions.

His older brother George Eric Burroughs Dobbs also pursued a military career, rising to Lt-Col in the Royal Engineers. He obtained the Legion d’Honneur but was killed after shellfire whilst prospecting a cable trench in Jun 1917.

Fritz Dobbs became the Godfather of Noel and Molly Downing’s second daughter, Hazel in 1922.

He appears to have settled some time after the war in South Africa, serving in the Second World War in North Africa as a Lieut-Colonel (CO) of the South African Irish regiment, before being wounded.

He died on 6 Nov 1956