Monday, October 27, 2014

63717 WO Cl II James Louis Cottingham, Labour Corps

Chailey Parish Magazine notes in December 1916: Cottingham, Co Sergt Major J, 37th RF, and this information is then repeated monthly up until the final published roll call in July 1919. 

J Cottingham is probably James Louis Cottingham who was one of four Chailey brothers who served during the First World War.  He was the eldest child of William and Esther Cottingham of South Common Chailey and was born at Chailey in late 1884 or early 1885, his birth recorded at Lewes in the March quarter of that year. 

The 1901 census returns show him living at Chailey with his family.  The household comprised William Cottingham, head of the household, aged 53 and working as a tile maker, his 46 year old wife Esther Cottingham and their five children: James, aged 16, a brickyard labourer, William Cottingham, aged 13, a brickyard labourer, his twin brother George Cottingham, aged 13, working as a carter boy on farm, Frederick [Samuel] Cottingham, aged nine, and finally Alfred Cottingham aged six.  The 1891 census also shows a daughter, Edith Cottingham aged five in 1891 but I could find no record of her on the census taken ten years later. 

The 37th Royal Fusiliers was a labour battalion formed at Falmer, Sussex on June 6th 1916.  It went to France the following month as part of the Fourth Army.  In April 1917 it became the 107th and 108th Labour Companies of The Labour Corps.  The National Archives gives two designations for this man: 38338 Warrant Officer Class 2 James L Cottingham, Royal Fusiliers and (when the 37th Royal Fusiliers was re-designated), 63717 Warrant Officer Class 2 James L Cottingham, Labour Corps.

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