© Peter Hodgkinson 2016

Dr Peter E Hodgkinson Chartered Clinical Psychologist - Military Historian

The Diary of Jesse Richard‘Roddy’ Rodinson

Lance-Corporal 12/1033

‘D’ Company - 12th (City) Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment

Great War

Born the son of Richard and Eliza Rodinson in Skipton in 1884, by the age of 17 Roddy was working as a photographer’s shop assistant, and by 1911 was a ‘press photographic artist’, working for the Sheffield Daily Telegraph.

He enlisted on 11 September 1914 in the 12th (City) Battalion of the York & Lancaster Regiment, one of the so-called ‘pals’ battalions.

He was severely wounded at Serre on 1 July 1916, and was discharged, returning to his job on the Sheffield Telegraph.

Here he worked with John Harris, a reporter, who published Covenant with Death (1961), a fictionalised account of the City Battalion. This is perhaps the most celebrated novel of the First World War.

To those who read the diary, it is clear that the central character in the book is loosely based around Roddy. However, in many places, particularly in terms of the account of the fighting on 1 July 1916, Harris clearly uses the experiences of many other City Battalion veterans he got to know. The publisher of Long Shadows Over Sheffield (Chris Hobbs & Matthew Bell), Neil Anderson, says of his grandfather Harold Hicks: ‘Author John Harris was the only person he ever truly opened up to about the horrors he’d witnessed in France. Harold’s memories made up a large part of the book’.

Click link to buy Covenant with Death from Amazon

The diary (with the kind permission of Alistair Caisley):

Part One - Redmires and Salisbury Plain

Part Two - Egypt

Part Three - The Western Front

Part Four - Convalescence