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William Reed Gott

Date of birth: 1880
Date of death: 31.10.1915
Area: Wrenthorpe
Regiment: Yorkshire
Family information: Husband of Elizabeth Ann Gott, nee Bradley
Rank: Private
Service number: 2653

War Service

William became Private 2653 in the Yorkshire Regiment 4th Battalion and according to his full name was William Reed Gott, he lived in Marske and enlisted in Skelton. He was married because in the Register of Soldiers’ Effects his next of kin was his widow Elizabeth.
In the medal record cards, it states that William arrived in France on 18th April 1915. Not much survives of William’s war records but according to the Forces War Records website he was admitted to hospital on 25th May 1916 after one year’s service (1 month with the field force) with the effects of gas, gastritis and bronchitis (slight). He was treated in Etaples Convalescent Camp for 21 days and then returned to duty.
In the war diary it states that on 28th October 1916 the battalion relieved the 5th Yorkshire Regiment in the trenches of Armentieres where they found the dug outs were “swimming with water”. Two days later on 31st the diary reports “a very quiet day… The weather was fine in the morning but turned to rain in the afternoon. Pte Gott and Pte Thompson, Z Coy, were wounded. Pte Gott eventually died of wounds at the Field Hospital.”
The Wakefield Express of November 16th 1916 printed the following:
“Pte William Gott was hit by a sniper on October 31st and died of wounds at the base hospital. Hs parents live at Bunker’s Hill Wrenthorpe, but he had been living at New Marsh in Cleveland. He leaves a wife and two children. He is an old Wrenthorpe lad.”
William was buried in the Cite Bonjean Military Hospital, Armentieres and was awarded the 14/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He is also remembered on the Marske War Memorial in Cleveland.
The following was printed in the Wakefield Express of 2nd November 1918
“GOTT In affectionate remembrance of Pvte Wm R Gott the beloved son of John and E Gott, Wrenthorpe who died of wounds in France the 31st day of October 1915. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ – from Mother and Father, Sister and Brothers and Nieces.”

Family Life

In the records of St Anne’s Church, Wrenthorpe, I found the baptism of four children of William Reed Gott and Elizabeth Ann – Matilda in 1902, Thomas William 1905, Elizabeth Teck in 1908 and Ida in 1909. I also found a baptism for their son John William at St Andrew’s Wakefield in 1900. William was said to be a miner from Mount Pleasant in the 1900 baptism and a plate layer from Wrenthorpe in the subsequent baptisms. I then searched for a marriage and found that he had married Elizabeth Ann Bradley at Wakefield Cathedral on 25th December 1899. He was a 19-year-old miner from Westgate and she was 24 and also from Westgate.
I found the family in 1901 living in Bunker’s Hill, Wrenthorpe. William was said to have been born in Marske. Tracing him further back through the censuses I found he was the son of John and Elizabeth Gott who in 1881 were living in Marske by the Sea, between Redcar and Saltburn, with John working as an ironstone miner and William his one-year-old baby. William had an older brother Arthur James who was born in about 1879.
By 1891 the family had moved to Thornaby where John was a shipyard labourer. They had added two more children to their family – Mabel E (b1886) and Ernest (b1890).
By 1901 William was married to Elizabeth Ann and they were living in Bunker’s Hill, Wrenthorpe. Next door were his parents John and Elizabeth who had had another son John in 1895. Father John was a platelayer on the railway while William and his brother Arthur were both coal miners. Sister Mabel was a woollen cloth piecener.
William and Elizabeth had their first child John William on 11th April 1900 and he was baptised at St Andrew’s Wakefield on 9th May. Sadly, he isn’t included on the 1901 census and there is a death registered in 1900 which suggests he has died. Matilda who was born on 27th February 1902 and Thomas William born on 18th January 1905 were both baptised at Wrenthorpe St Anne’s.
In 1911 the family were still at Bunker’s Hill with Matilda aged 10 and Thomas aged 7. Once again, the census reveals more tragic events for the family as it states that of 5 children three have died – as well as John William there was Elizabeth at 6 months and Ida aged 8 months.

Photo of Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery. Rows of double lined headstones surrounded by plants with grass strips between rows. Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery

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