Sunday, October 26, 2014

9835 Pte Alfred Cottingham, Coldstream Guards


Alfred Edward Cottingham was the youngest child of William and Esther Cottingham of South Common Chailey.  He was born at Chailey in 1894, his birth recorded at Lewes in the December 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 [Louis] Cottingham, 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 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. 
 
Chailey Parish Magazine first notes that Alfred Cottingham is serving his King and Country in October 1914.  In October 1915 he is recorded as Cottingham, Pte A, 1st Coldstream Guards, France.  The following month though his designation is entirely different and he is reported as Cottingham, L-Corpl A, Cyclists’ Company, 1st Divisional Mounted Troops. 

This information is repeated up to February 1917 when the parish magazine notes that Alfred, now a corporal, has been invalided and discharged.  However, he continues to feature in the parish magazine.  In December 1917 he is reported as a sergeant and his final entry in the final published roll call in July 1919 reads: Cottingham, Sergt A, Cyclists’ Company, 1st Divisional Mounted Troops. 

Alfred's medal index card gives two numbers: 9835 for the Coldstream Guards and 862 for The Army Cyclist Corps. It also notes that he arrived overseas on 13th August 1914. In fact, Alfred had joined the Coldstream Guards in November 1912 and so would have had nearly two years' experience under his belt by the time he arrived in France with the BEF; one of the Old Contemptibles.

Medal index card courtesy of Ancestry.

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