Monday, October 27, 2014

WR/178250 L/Cpl William Albert Cottington, 2/2nd London Field Coy, RE

William Albert Cottington was born at Uckfield, Sussex in 1890, his birth registered at Uckfield District in the September quarter of that year.  He appears on the 1891 census living at Yew Tree Cottage, Mayfield with the Wilson family.  The household comprised: Mary Wilson, head, widow aged 73, living on own means; Lousia Wilson, daughter, single, aged 25, dressmaker; Louisa Wilson, granddaughter, aged 5 and William, aged six months and recorded as a “boarder”. 

Ten years later, William’s relationship to the head of the household is still recorded as “boarder” but by now he is living at No 2 Roeheath Cottage, Chailey village.  The head of the household is noted as 45 year old James Langridge and William (aged ten) shares the house with James and his 42 year old wife Ellen, their 22 year old son Herbert and an 84 year old boarder – John Diplock. 

On 3rd February 1912 William married Rosena Alice Evans at the Congregational Church, Uckfield and on 8th January 1914 a daughter, Ethel Cottington, was born. 

William was embodied on 23rd March 1915 at 10 Victoria Park Square, London as a sapper with the 2nd London Field Company, Royal Engineers (TF) in (what was then) the 1st London Division.  He was given the number 1974 (later changed to 548331 when the Territorial were re-numbered in 1917).  He gave his address as New Road, Buxted, Sussex and enlisted for the duration of the war. He stated that he had previously served with the Sussex Garrison Artillery (TF) until it been disbanded.  He was described as 24 years old, five feet, six inches tall and of good physical development.   

On 31st August 1915 he was appointed (unpaid) acting lance-corporal and this was upgraded to (paid) acting lance-corporal on 6th November 1915.  On 11th December 1915

He was promoted to acting 2nd corporal and this was duly noted in Chailey’s parish magazine in February 1916 which reported: Cottington, 2nd Corpl W A 2/2nd London Field Co, RE, England. 

On 11th March 1916 he joined the RE Base Records for duty and the following month was re-mustered as a clerk and granted proficient (1/-) rate of Engineer pay.  Although there is no visible note in his (badly burnt) records of when he went abroad, Chailey Parish Magazine notes in July 1916 that he is in France.  On 1st November 1916 he was raised to “Skilled” (1/4) rate of Engineer pay and on 1st July appointed paid acting corporal (19th Section GHQ, 1st Div). 

He was admitted to hospital on 20th August 1917 (the cause of the admission is unclear on his records) but it appears not to have been serious and as far as I can ascertain he remained overseas.  He was however granted leave bewteen 16th and 30th January 1918.  At a medical board at Rouen on 22nd March 1918 he was graded as B2 and the following day his war pay was raised to ( or maybe “by”) 3d a day.   

On 1st October 1918 he was appointed sergeant and given four days’ leave to Paris the same day.  Shortly after his return he attended a further medical board at Rouen where he was upgraded to B1.  He was granted leave to the UK between 3rd and 17th January 1919  and was finally despatched to the UK for release on 21st April 1919.  He appears to have been disembodied on 1st May 1919. 

He is probably related to Alfred Cottington and Harry Cottington but I have not yet been able to establish a link between these men.
Medal index card courtesy of Ancestry.

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