S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Dobson, Capt Montague Charles (surveying)

Born: 4 June 1879, Maseru, Lesotho.
Died: 26 September 1915, Place not known.

Montague Charles Dobson, son of Nelson C. Dobson, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, and his wife Louisa A. Dobson, was educated at Clifton College, Bristol, England and appointed as a Gentleman Cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in July 1896. In February 1898 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery. During the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) he served in South Africa, was twice mentioned in despatches and awarded both the Queen's South Africa Medal and the King's South Africa Medal. He was promoted to lieutenant in February 1901 and continued to serve in South Africa with 20th Battery, 9th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. In January 1904 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and in October 1905 was promoted to captain.

From January 1905 to April 1909 Captain Dobson carried out reconnaissance surveys in Lesotho, without skilled assistance, as part of a wider survey of the northern Cape Colony and Lesotho by the British War Office from 1905 to 1911. The results of the wider survey, including part of Dobson's work, were published as the GSGS 1764 series of maps, Cape Colony and Basutoland (scale 1:250 000) during 1907-1914. Dobson's whole survey was published as the GSGS 2567 series of four sheets, Basutoland (scale 1:250 000) during 1910-1911. In addition, his survey provided the Lesotho portions of the maps Fouriesburg and Witzieshoek (scale 1.97 miles to the inch, or c. 1:250 000) published in 1913 by the Colonial Survey Section as part of a series of maps of the Orange Free State (now the Free State). Dobson's maps included natural features, settlements, district boundaries, main and bridle roads, river fords, mission stations, etc. Considering the mountainous terrain his survey was a remarkable achievement.

Dobson returned to England in July 1909 and in January of the next year married Florisse Stoley. In October 1914, after the outbreak of World War I (1914-1918) he was promoted to major and the next month was sent to France. In May 1915 he was appointed brigade major. He was killed in action a few months later.

List of sources:

Brigade Major Montague Charles Dobson. Retrieved from http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?/topic/122136-brigade-major-montague-charles-dobson/ as on 2016-8-22.

Liebenberg, E.C. Die topografiese kartering van Suid-Afrika, 1879-1972; 'n histories-geografiese ontleding. MA verhandeling in Geografie, Universiteit van Suid-Afrika, 1973.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Dobson, M.C.

Compiled by: C. Plug