John Forbes Rodda was born in the spring of 1889 in Caistor, Lincolnshire. Both he and his younger sister were given the middle name Forbes which was the family name of their mother.
In 1911, John and his sister were living with their parents and grandmother at 3 Ettrick Grove, Sunderland. John was 21 years of age and at the Student Training College for Elementary.
It is not known when John moved to South Africa although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, stated his nationality as South African.
John served with the 4th Regiment of the South African Infantry and died of wounds on 28th October 1916 received in front of the Butte de Warlencourt.
The Butte was a prehistoric burial mould and was in the forefront of the Somme battlefield changing hands many times during 1916. The South Africans were relieved on the morning of the 20th October so it is likely that John was wounded before then.
John is buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension which was used by several casualty clearing stations. It is here the village of Albert and close to Delville Wood where the South African WW1 Memorial is now located.