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World War One project looks for descendants of Walter Joseph Cottrill

5th October 2017

A Warndon Library Community Group has joined a national project researching the lives of servicemen who were injured at Passchendaele in Belgium in 1917. The project is part of The Big Idea Company’s Passchendaele at Home project and the Worcestershire World War One Hundred project.

Hundreds of men wounded at the Battle of Passchendaele were evacuated to hospitals in the UK but died during treatment and sadly there is no central record of the location of their graves or memorials. The aim of the Passchedaele at Home project is to research and locate their graves and memorials in the UK for the first time so that they can be recorded.

The group at Warndon Library decided to concentrate their efforts on researching one soldier, Private Walter John Cottrill from the 1st/8th Battalion Worcester Regiment. The group are interested in finding out more about Private Cottrill, including whether he has any living descendants in Worcestershire.

To date the group have uncovered the following:

Private Walter John Cottrill No. 203068

Walter was born 12th November 1890 to parents John and Eliza Cottrill. He was a twin to his sister Ethel who died in infancy in 1892.

He married Emma Marie Moore, whom he probably met in Worcester where she was in domestic service, on 17th August 1914 in Bath. They lived in Worcester and Walter worked for his father, who was a manager, at the Birmingham and Worcester Coal Company.

Walter enlisted on 22nd November 2016 and was wounded at Ypres on 9th October 1917. He died eleven days later, aged 26, on 20th October 1917 at the University War Hospital, Southampton, of pneumonia and was buried in Astwood Cemetery.

James Robertson, Library Customer Advisor at Warndon Library said: “Our group has undertaken some fantastic research into Private Walter Cottrill and we have brief history on his life as well as knowing where he was buried. We are really interested to find out more about Walter, especially if he has any descendants still living in the Worcestershire area. If you can help in any way to add to our knowledge and to the national data base being created as part of the national project we would be delighted to hear from you.”

On the anniversary of Private Cottrill’s death, 20 October, the group will hold a remembrance service at his graveside and will compile the information about his life and death for an exhibition which will be on display at Warndon Library and The Hive in Worcester on this date.

If you have information to share please contact James Robertson at Warndon Library on 01905 822722 or email jrobertson@worcestershire.gov.uk.

To find out more about Passchendaele at Home visit www.bigideascompany.org