3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
Mark was born in Walsall, Staffordshire (now known as West Midlands) on 5th April 1958, the eldest of three boys born to Bryan & Carole Dodsworth. He had an irrepressible wit and a warm, cheeky smile. He was very proud of his hometown and was a keen supporter of Walsall FC.
On leaving school at fifteen he joined the Junior Leaders Regiment and was stationed in Folkstone, Kent. At seventeen he volunteered for the Parachute Regiment and after successfully passing out, he was posted to the 3rd Battalion (3 Para), following in the footsteps of his father, who served in the Suez Crisis of 1956, the last time the regiment parachuted into a ‘hot zone’.
In early 1975, when Mark was only seventeen, 3 Para were posted to Northern Ireland. Due to his age, he was not allowed to accompany them and was posted to Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire to train as a dog handler. On the day of his eighteenth birthday, he was handed his travel documents and joined his comrades in the province.
Mark spent the next five years in Northern Ireland working within the specialist dog unit. He is pictured above in training with ‘Amazon’ and on duty on the streets of Belfast, with his beloved ‘Stevie’. Friends and colleagues said they were inseparable.
It was during this time Mark met his future wife and after his time in the province came to an end, they lived at the then 3 Para HQ in Tidworth, Hampshire. He was placed into the mortar platoon but found this too inactive after his adrenaline filled service in Northern Ireland and volunteered to train as a medic, much to the surprise of his family, as when he was young, he was terrified of blood!
On successfully completing this training he became one of 3 Para’s Medics attached to B Company.
Following the invasion of the Falkland Islands, all units of 3 Para were recalled to barracks to join the British Task Force, Mark and his comrades sailed to the South Atlantic onboard the cruise ship ‘Canberra’, shortly after his 24th Birthday.
During 3 Para’s assault of Mount Longdon, Mark was called forward to tend to a wounded comrade and while doing so was hit by sniper fire. He succumbed to his wounds while being evacuated to the regimental aid post.
Mark was temporarily interred at Teal Inlet, before being repatriated home to Walsall in the latter part of 1982. His funeral service took place on 2nd December. A corner of his beloved town was gridlocked as so many neighbours and towns folk had turned out to pay their respects to a fallen fellow ‘Saddler’. Mark would have chuckled as he always said he would be famous one day and bring the town to a standstill…………
He rests in the grounds of St. Peters Church, Walsall.
Information & Images provided by Mark’s Brother Alan, Trustee, SAMA 82. March 2023.
Mark’s memorial stone placed on the spot where he fell on Mount Longdon.
A home shirt of his beloved Walsall FC has also been placed below it.
Picture courtesy of Alan Dodsworth
In 2022, as part of the 40th Anniversary commemorations, geographical features were identified and named after the fallen of 1982. DODSWORTH BEACH is on the Northeast Coast of mainland East Falkland, at the east end of Seal Bay.
It is positioned at
51° 22′ 47.27″ S , 058° 02′ 27.28″ W