Date of birth: 1917
Date of death: 6.9.1940
Regiment: Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding)
Family information: Son of Sam and Harriet Anne Oddy nee Firth
Service number: 4619009
Ronald (Ronnie) Oddy was Private 4619009 in the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment 2nd/7th Battalion.
The 2/7th Battalion were sent to France in April 1940. They suffered heavily during the Battle of France and retreated to Dunkirk, being evacuated to Britain where they spent the next two years. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records show, however, that Ronald died on 6th September 1940, being buried in Schneidemuehl (now called Pila in Poland) and was then reburied in the Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery, Poland on 8th October 1948. This suggested that he may have been a prisoner of war in one of the concentration camps. I then found a memorial in the Wakefield Express from several members of his family which confirmed that he had been a prisoner of war.
I have subsequently found out more information from the family of one of his best friends, Alfred Pickersgill. Alfred told his children that Ronnie had been in the prisoner of war camp and had back chatted a guard who did no more than take his gun out and shoot him dead.
In 1939 the electoral register shows Ronald was living at 8, Towlerton Lane, Wrenthorpe with his parents Sam and Harriet Anne (nee Firth), who had been married at St Anne’s Church, Wrenthorpe in October 1899. The couple had Sam jnr in 1907 and twins Frank and Marjorie in 1912, followed by Ronald in 1917.
In the 1939 Register it shows Ronald’s father Sam had been born in 1872 and was a labourer at the gas works, his mother was four years younger. His brother Sam was a widower and both he and Frank were lorry drivers. The closed record I presume to be Ronald as his death wouldn’t have been registered in this country.