Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Walter Cottrell RE and MFP help requested


Recommended Posts

 

Hello, I would very much appreciate any help researching my Great Grandfather, Walter Cottrell, 2770, Royal Engineers and 1471, Military Foot Police.

 

I have Walter’s Victory Medal and British War Medal on a rack though oddly, attached is a 1914-1915 Star engraved with 13606 AH Sumner RN on the reverse. This name is not known to my family though my initial thought was Walter had replaced a lost Star with one sourced from another veteran. This can’t be so as Walter’s Medal Index Card only records the VM and BWM.

 

I have searched Ancestry UK, Fold3 and the National Archives and it appears Walter’s attestation record has not survived. As such, I’m unable to confirm Walter’s date of enlistment into the RE, transfer to the MFP or any details regarding his service. 

 

Would any of our expert members be able to provide further details regarding Walter which ultimately may enable me to locate a War Diary giving an insight into his life during the Great War. 

 

I have attached Walter’s Medal Index Card and corresponding Medal Roll which I hope is of some use.

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

Cstorey

 

 

4C05C0BA-0279-4CD7-BC57-040898634F17.jpeg

11942E13-4752-4522-8F65-1508EF43BE0D.jpeg

Edited by Cstorey
Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark1959

Sumner was killed aboard HMS Black Prince at the Battle of Jutland. It was lost with all hands. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Mark1959 said:

Sumner was killed aboard HMS Black Prince at the Battle of Jutland. It was lost with all hands. 

It is very odd his star is with Walters medals, we don’t have a sumner in the family 

Link to post
Share on other sites
TullochArd
1 hour ago, Cstorey said:

I have searched Ancestry UK, Fold3 and the National Archives and it appears Walter’s attestation record has not survived. As such, I’m unable to confirm Walter’s date of enlistment into the RE, transfer to the MFP or any details regarding his service. 

 

The Medal Roll above shows his BWM/BVM were earned as Spr 2770 "3rd Wessex RE".  I believe this is a 2nd Line Territorial unit. 3rd Field Company RE was raised in September 1914 and was eventually assigned to 57th (2nd West Lancashire Division) from Hampshire on 9 December 1915. In February 1917 3rd Field Company RE was numbered 502nd and served with 57th (West Lancashie Division) on the Western Front from February 1917 until the end of the war ...... that would explain the BWM/BVM entitlement and also suggest your relative was trasferred to the MFP at some point after this whilst on active service. 

 

Unfortunately this does not indicate obvious entitlement to 14/15 Star as "3rd Wessex RE" only served in UK only during the 14/15 qualification period. 

 

Following on:

 

3 wessex field coy R.E - Soldiers and their units - Great War Forum

 

 

Edited by TullochArd
GWF Attachment added
Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum.

  The war diary for 502 Field Company, Royal Engineers 1917-1919 can be downloaded for free at present from The National Archives. You have to register but this is very easy. Walter may be mentioned, but even if it isn't it will give you some idea of where the company went and what they did.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354977

 

Regards,

Alf McM

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, alf mcm said:

Welcome to the forum.

  The war diary for 502 Field Company, Royal Engineers 1917-1919 can be downloaded for free at present from The National Archives. You have to register but this is very easy. Walter may be mentioned, but even if it isn't it will give you some idea of where the company went and what they did.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354977

 

Regards,

Alf McM

Thank you so much, I am registering now! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alisonmallen62

Could A H Sumner have been a friend?  He was born in London so unsure where your family hail from.  There is a family tree for Alfred Horace Sumner. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Toontraveller

Based on my current research into the Military Foot Police and Metropolitan Police his Army service number P/1471 is suggestive of a transfer from RE to the MFP around the 5th -9th June 1915.

 

I have identified Metropolitan Police Officers who enlisted in the MFP with service numbers P/1455 (Close to 5..6.1915)   and P/1502 (about the 9th June 1915).

 

There was heavy recruitment of Police Officers with previous Army service to join the MMP or MFP at this time. Is there a possibility he was a Police Officer prior to  WW1?

 

I'm sure @Provost will be along soon and may have more information on his MFP transfer/service.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

It is very odd his star is with Walters medals, we don’t have a Sumner in the family 

 

Yes it is very odd. Alfred Horace Sumner is easy to research, and he died and his mother got a pension until her death in 1939.  AH Sumner's father then got it till he died in 1948

 

It seem unlikely that your Walter Cottrell would have bought the medal, even if Sumner's family had sold it

 

And the last of AH Sumner's siblings died in 1980

 

Alfred Horace Sumner was born Balham in 1895

 

AH Sumner's family lived at Moffatt Rd , Wandsworth in 1922 census . And Pension cards give his mother at Kenlor Rd, Tooting

 

I cannot find any connection between Cottrell family & Sumner family. But we do not have Walters birth or marriage details , so I cannot see where they were living

 

I suppose he could just have found the medal, but we are in area of unsubstantiated supposition. The most likely explanation still seems that he was given it, possibly by one of his siblings descendants descendents, who got it on the death of their father in 1948. I don't now when Walter died, but there must be only a small time window

 

And I ought to add that Alfred Horace's brother Horace was also killed in 1916 on HMS Indefatigable on 31 May 1916 during the Battle of Jutland,

Edited by corisande
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Toontraveller said:

Based on my current research into the Military Foot Police and Metropolitan Police his Army service number P/1471 is suggestive of a transfer from RE to the MFP around the 5th -9th June 1915.

 

I have identified Metropolitan Police Officers who enlisted in the MFP with service numbers P/1455 (Close to 5..6.1915)   and P/1502 (about the 9th June 1915).

 

There was heavy recruitment of Police Officers with previous Army service to join the MMP or MFP at this time. Is there a possibility he was a Police Officer prior to  WW1?

 

I'm sure Provost will be along soon and may have more information on his MFP transfer/service.

 

 

Yes he was a police officer as some point so could very possibly of been before WW1. 
As far as we know he lived in Portsmouth so not sure of any relation to London unfortunately. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Toontraveller

Hi, just for clarity I was not suggesting he was a Metropolitan Police Officer but based on the recruitment into the MFP at that time it was highly likely he was a Police Officer from another Force. 
 

Edited by Toontraveller
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Toontraveller said:

Based on my current research into the Military Foot Police and Metropolitan Police his Army service number P/1471 is suggestive of a transfer from RE to the MFP around the 5th -9th June 1915.

 

I have identified Metropolitan Police Officers who enlisted in the MFP with service numbers P/1455 (Close to 5..6.1915)   and P/1502 (about the 9th June 1915).

 

There was heavy recruitment of Police Officers with previous Army service to join the MMP or MFP at this time. Is there a possibility he was a Police Officer prior to  WW1?

 

I'm sure Provost will be along soon and may have more information on his MFP transfer/service.

 

 

 

The medal index card indicates he served abroad after January 1916 with Royal Engineers, then transferred to MFP. The 3rd Wessex didn't serve abroad until February 1917. This doesn't tie in with a transfer to MFP in June 1915 as mentioned above.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

Link to post
Share on other sites
Toontraveller

Hi, I have gone back and double checked my research and believe the information on dates I have previously provided is correct.

 

MFP and MMP usually have a P/suffix before the service number I notice that on this occasion W.  Cottrell does not according to his MIC and  Medal roll he just has the the number 1471 recorded on the documents.

 

I have looked at the MFP medal roll and MIC for P/1471 and attach it below. (Courtesy of ancestry)  .

 

It show MFP service number P/1471 allocated to a soldier O. Knights who served overseas from 28.6.1915 until 11.11.1918.

 

Its suggestive of the number 1471 being issued at a later stage, or  a new MFP service  number issuing system  or an error.  A large batch of soldiers were transferred to MFP later in the War  so its possible he transferred at that stage. 

 

Based on alf mcm observations above and the anomaly of the service number its clear he didn't join the MFP in June 1915, sorry I can't help further.

@Provostmay know more.

41629_625537_9889-00112.jpg

30850_A000914-03036.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
TullochArd

Are his BWM/BVM embossed "RE"?  If so, this confirms he was serving with the "3rd Wessex RE" as shown on the Medal Roll when he first deployed on active service.  As "3rd Wessex RE" only served in UK only during the 14/15 Star qualification period his entitlement to that medal is not at all obvious.

 

I have looked at the MICs of the other MFP soldiers on his Medal Roll and the MICs are typical (typical in devoid of detail e.g. Theatre unlike the earlier ones) indicating they too are late War soldiers on transfer to the MFP.  Unfortunately their Service Records are also missing which would have nailed some dates by Service Number association.

 

From what we have I see:  RE, possibly from as early as September 1914 and France and Belgium from February 1917.  Transfer to MFP some time after this date.  If you are wondering what he might have been up to between 1914 and 1917 the possible timeline is in the GWF link I posted earlier.

 

 

Edited by TullochArd
GWF link not LLT link
Link to post
Share on other sites
Gunner 87
11 hours ago, Toontraveller said:

Hi, I have gone back and double checked my research and believe the information on dates I have previously provided is correct.

 

MFP and MMP usually have a P/suffix before the service number I notice that on this occasion W.  Cottrell does not according to his MIC and  Medal roll he just has the the number 1471 recorded on the documents.

 

I have looked at the MFP medal roll and MIC for P/1471 and attach it below. (Courtesy of ancestry)  .

 

It show MFP service number P/1471 allocated to a soldier O. Knights who served overseas from 28.6.1915 until 11.11.1918.

 

Its suggestive of the number 1471 being issued at a later stage, or  a new MFP service  number issuing system  or an error.  A large batch of soldiers were transferred to MFP later in the War  so its possible he transferred at that stage. 

 

Based on alf mcm observations above and the anomaly of the service number its clear he didn't join the MFP in June 1915, sorry I can't help further.

 

Provost may know more.

41629_625537_9889-00112.jpg

30850_A000914-03036.jpg

 

10 hours ago, TullochArd said:

Are his BWM/BVM embossed "RE"?  If so, this confirms he was serving with the "3rd Wessex RE" as shown on the Medal Roll when he first deployed on active service.  As "3rd Wessex RE" only served in UK only during the 14/15 Star qualification period his entitlement to that medal is not at all obvious.

 

I have looked at the MICs of the other MFP soldiers on his Medal Roll and the MICs are typical (typical in devoid of detail e.g. Theatre unlike the earlier ones) indicating they too are late War soldiers on transfer to the MFP.  Unfortunately their Service Records are also missing which would have nailed some dates by Service Number association.

 

From what we have I see:  RE, possibly from as early as September 1914 and France and Belgium from February 1917.  Transfer to MFP some time after this date.  If you are wondering what he might have been up to between 1914 and 1917 the possible timeline is in the GWF link I posted earlier.

 

 

 

 

Hi Guys. I have been following this thread with interest and initially lent a hand to Cstorey. Walter’s son is listed with the CWGC in connection to his death in WW2. On the certificate Walter is listed as Walter Charles Cottrell. This has not furthered the research but which maybe useful.

 

In addition, but again, does not shed any confirmed light on the issue of the Star with the exception that a W Cottrell, 115318, served with the Royal Engineers and then 3rd Prov Co. Attached are the relevant Medal Rolls for the 1914-1915 Star and SWB. Could the 3rd Provost Company be related to the 3rd Wessex RE and could this be a number change from Walter’s earlier RE number and admin error on the MIC. The service record for 115318 does not appear to have survived. 

 

I apologise if this is not relevant, my research capacity is limited at present, though seems a little coincidental a W Cottrell served with the RE then 3rd Provost Company. Could this explain the Star, possibly lost and replaced by Walter?

 

@alf mcm

 

@corisande

 

DDC2E5CC-EBB4-43DD-A40A-27FA534B9D59.jpeg

73B7E742-B8ED-47B6-91AB-B106E6663881.jpeg

Edited by Gunner 87
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Gunner 87 said:

 

 

 

Hi Guys. I have been following this thread with interest and initially lent a hand to Cstorey. Walter’s son is listed with the CWGC in connection to his death in WW2. On the certificate Walter is listed as Walter Charles Cottrell. This has not furthered the research but which maybe useful.

 

In addition, but again, does not shed any confirmed light on the issue of the Star with the exception that a W Cottrell, 115318, served with the Royal Engineers and then 3rd Prov Co. Attached are the relevant Medal Rolls for the 1914-1915 Star and SWB. Could the 3rd Provost Company be related to the 3rd Wessex RE and could this be a number change from Walter’s earlier RE number and admin error on the MIC. The service record for 115318 does not appear to have survived. 

 

I apologise if this is not relevant, my research capacity is limited at present, though seems a little coincidental a W Cottrell served with the RE then 3rd Provost Company. Could this explain the Star, possibly lost and replaced by Walter?

 

@alf mcm

 

@corisande

 

DDC2E5CC-EBB4-43DD-A40A-27FA534B9D59.jpeg

73B7E742-B8ED-47B6-91AB-B106E6663881.jpeg

 

Gunner,

   Very interesting. My first thought was that Walter served as 115318 and was discharged with a silver war badge in March 1916. His health then improved and he re-enlisted or was conscripted, to serve as 2770, then 1471 in MFP.

  Findmypast have service records for W. Cottrell 115318. Unfortunately he is William Cottrell, born 1875, So is not our man.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Walter is recorded as Walter C. Cottrell, Police Constable W.D.C. in the 1939 Register. He is living with his wife Elizabeth at 1a Command Depot, Hilsea, Portsmouth, and claims he was born on 19th November 1885. {Findmypast have him as 'Walbes C Coffrell' and Ancestry have him as 'Walter C Cotrell'}.

What's curious is that Freebmd don't have a birth record for Walter Cottrell at that date. I am assuming he was born in England.

Also, does anyone know what 'W.D.C.' stand for?

 

Regards,

Alf McM

Link to post
Share on other sites
TullochArd

 

18 minutes ago, alf mcm said:

Also, does anyone know what 'W.D.C.' stand for?

 

War Department Constabulary ..... then Army Department Constabulary ........ now Ministry of Defence Police.

WDC.jpg

Edited by TullochArd
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, alf mcm said:

Walter is recorded as Walter C. Cottrell, Police Constable W.D.C. in the 1939 Register. He is living with his wife Elizabeth at 1a Command Depot, Hilsea, Portsmouth, and claims he was born on 19th November 1885. {Findmypast have him as 'Walbes C Coffrell' and Ancestry have him as 'Walter C Cotrell'}.

What's curious is that Freebmd don't have a birth record for Walter Cottrell at that date. I am assuming he was born in England.

Also, does anyone know what 'W.D.C.' stand for?

 

Regards,

Alf McM

As far as I’m aware he was born in England yes 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Gunner 87
21 hours ago, alf mcm said:

 

Gunner,

   Very interesting. My first thought was that Walter served as 115318 and was discharged with a silver war badge in March 1916. His health then improved and he re-enlisted or was conscripted, to serve as 2770, then 1471 in MFP.

  Findmypast have service records for W. Cottrell 115318. Unfortunately he is William Cottrell, born 1875, So is not our man.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

 

Alf, thank you for looking into that. Appreciated. Gunner. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Morning Folks,

 

To clarify the discussion around his MFP number. At the beginning of the War, the Corps of Military Police (consisting of both the Military Mounted and Military Foot Police) simplified its numbering system. Prior to that, both MMP and MFP had simple numerical progression, meaning you had two men within the administration of the Corps with the same number. The introduction of the P prefix led to the next man enlisted or transferred being given the next available number irrespective of being Mounted or Foot Police. In 1919, the Corps reverted to its old numbers with the MMP carrying on from 838 and the MFP carrying on from 1332. A few weeks later, it was decided that (like the P numbers) all new entries into the Corps would simply be given the next available number. Hope that clears that bit up.

 

According to his entry in the Army Book 358 - which gives his name as Walter COTTERELL, he served with the Royal Engineers between 24th October 1914 and 22nd January 1919 with the Service Number 508368. On 16th July 1919, he re-enlisted into the Military Foot Police at Aldershot with the No 1471. He is aged 34 years 8 months (giving him a birth date of mid 1884), and his occupation is listed as a painter - his birthplace is given as Lambeth, and he married Hilda Octavia Osborne at Southampton on 23rd May 1909.

 

In the 1920 re-numbering, he is allocated yet another MFP No - 7681489. He would serve with the Corps until 15th April 1924 when he was discharged at Portsmouth under Para 392 (xxi) - the termination of his period of service. At Discharge, he was a Lance Corporal, and his character is listed as excellent.

 

I hope this clears at least some of the water.

 

Cheers,

 

Richard

 

 

Edited by Provost
Link to post
Share on other sites
Toontraveller

Richard, thank you for the clarity on the numbering for MMP and MFP, it now makes a lot more sense .

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/06/2021 at 09:51, Provost said:

Morning Folks,

 

To clarify the discussion around his MFP number. At the beginning of the War, the Corps of Military Police (consisting of both the Military Mounted and Military Foot Police) simplified its numbering system. Prior to that, both MMP and MFP had simple numerical progression, meaning you had two men within the administration of the Corps with the same number. The introduction of the P prefix led to the next man enlisted or transferred being given the next available number irrespective of being Mounted or Foot Police. In 1919, the Corps reverted to its old numbers with the MMP carrying on from 838 and the MFP carrying on from 1332. A few weeks later, it was decided that (like the P numbers) all new entries into the Corps would simply be given the next available number. Hope that clears that bit up.

 

According to his entry in the Army Book 358 - which gives his name as Walter COTTERELL, he served with the Royal Engineers between 24th October 1914 and 22nd January 1919 with the Service Number 508368. On 16th July 1919, he re-enlisted into the Military Foot Police at Aldershot with the No 1471. He is aged 34 years 8 months (giving him a birth date of mid 1884), and his occupation is listed as a painter - his birthplace is given as Lambeth, and he married Hilda Octavia Osborne at Southampton on 23rd May 1909.

 

In the 1920 re-numbering, he is allocated yet another MFP No - 7681489. He would serve with the Corps until 15th April 1924 when he was discharged at Portsmouth under Para 392 (xxi) - the termination of his period of service. At Discharge, he was a Lance Corporal, and his character is listed as excellent.

 

I hope this clears at least some of the water.

 

Cheers,

 

Richard

 

 

Wow thank you so much for that information! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Gunner 87
On 07/06/2021 at 09:51, Provost said:

Morning Folks,

 

To clarify the discussion around his MFP number. At the beginning of the War, the Corps of Military Police (consisting of both the Military Mounted and Military Foot Police) simplified its numbering system. Prior to that, both MMP and MFP had simple numerical progression, meaning you had two men within the administration of the Corps with the same number. The introduction of the P prefix led to the next man enlisted or transferred being given the next available number irrespective of being Mounted or Foot Police. In 1919, the Corps reverted to its old numbers with the MMP carrying on from 838 and the MFP carrying on from 1332. A few weeks later, it was decided that (like the P numbers) all new entries into the Corps would simply be given the next available number. Hope that clears that bit up.

 

According to his entry in the Army Book 358 - which gives his name as Walter COTTERELL, he served with the Royal Engineers between 24th October 1914 and 22nd January 1919 with the Service Number 508368. On 16th July 1919, he re-enlisted into the Military Foot Police at Aldershot with the No 1471. He is aged 34 years 8 months (giving him a birth date of mid 1884), and his occupation is listed as a painter - his birthplace is given as Lambeth, and he married Hilda Octavia Osborne at Southampton on 23rd May 1909.

 

In the 1920 re-numbering, he is allocated yet another MFP No - 7681489. He would serve with the Corps until 15th April 1924 when he was discharged at Portsmouth under Para 392 (xxi) - the termination of his period of service. At Discharge, he was a Lance Corporal, and his character is listed as excellent.

 

I hope this clears at least some of the water.

 

Cheers,

 

Richard

 

 

 

 

That’s great research and I wonder if it possibly explains the reason Walter had a 1914-1915 Star on his rack.

 

The Medal Index Card does not record the Star and only lists Walters Royal Engineers service number as 2770 which I would think is his earlier number prior to 508368. Could this be an admin oversight considering Walter served from 24th October 1914 so likely deployed to a Theatre of War in 1915 thus fulfilling the criteria for the Star? Opinion only, but with Walter going on to join the police it seems unlikely he would wear a medal not entitled to. 

 

In addition, the Star was awarded posthumously to a man who lived in Moffatt Road, Wandsworth, a very short distance neighbouring Lambeth. Again, only a possibility, but did the men know each other and that is how Walter obtained his Star?

 

Without Walter’s service record it maybe difficult to confirm but with Richard’s information regarding service with the Royal Engineers could it provide an explanation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gunner 87
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/06/2021 at 09:51, Provost said:

Morning Folks,

 

To clarify the discussion around his MFP number. At the beginning of the War, the Corps of Military Police (consisting of both the Military Mounted and Military Foot Police) simplified its numbering system. Prior to that, both MMP and MFP had simple numerical progression, meaning you had two men within the administration of the Corps with the same number. The introduction of the P prefix led to the next man enlisted or transferred being given the next available number irrespective of being Mounted or Foot Police. In 1919, the Corps reverted to its old numbers with the MMP carrying on from 838 and the MFP carrying on from 1332. A few weeks later, it was decided that (like the P numbers) all new entries into the Corps would simply be given the next available number. Hope that clears that bit up.

 

According to his entry in the Army Book 358 - which gives his name as Walter COTTERELL, he served with the Royal Engineers between 24th October 1914 and 22nd January 1919 with the Service Number 508368. On 16th July 1919, he re-enlisted into the Military Foot Police at Aldershot with the No 1471. He is aged 34 years 8 months (giving him a birth date of mid 1884), and his occupation is listed as a painter - his birthplace is given as Lambeth, and he married Hilda Octavia Osborne at Southampton on 23rd May 1909.

 

In the 1920 re-numbering, he is allocated yet another MFP No - 7681489. He would serve with the Corps until 15th April 1924 when he was discharged at Portsmouth under Para 392 (xxi) - the termination of his period of service. At Discharge, he was a Lance Corporal, and his character is listed as excellent.

 

I hope this clears at least some of the water.

 

Cheers,

 

Richard

 

 

Great information Richard.

   Are the Army Book 358's available online? They seem to be incredibly useful.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...