George C. Cottman

Nov 25, 1878

Born in Gananoque, Ontario to George Washington and Rachel (nee Forder) Cottman


Jul 4, 1898

Married to Mary Elizabeth “Minnie”  Ward


May 7, 1901

Volunteered in the 14th Regiment PWOR (Princess of Wales’ Own Rifles)

Ø  Number 150

Ø  Assigned to “C” Company

Ø  Occupation shown as Boilermaker

All of his PWOR records show his surname as Cotman, not Cottman


Oct 4, 1901

Discharged from the PWOR


Jun 3, 1902

Volunteered in the 14th Regiment PWOR

 Ø  Number 350

Ø  Assigned to “C” Company

Ø  Occupation shown as Boilermaker


Oct 28, 1902

Discharged from the PWOR


Jun 15, 1904

Volunteered in the 14th Regiment PWOR

 Ø  Number 588

Ø  Assigned to “F” Company

Ø  Occupation shown as Boilermaker

Ø  Address shown as 5 Cherry St., Kingston


Jun 6, 1910

Discharged from the PWOR


Jan 6, 1915

Shown on the payroll of the 8th CMR (Canadian Mounted Rifles) after volunteering with the 4th Hussars


Jan 26, 1915

Transferred to the 21st Battalion in Kingston


Jan 27, 1915

Attested into the 21st Battalion CEF in Kingston, Ontario

 Ø  Number 59203 (temporary number 1223)

Ø  Next of kin given as Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Cottman, wife, 1 Chestnut St., Kingston, Ontario

Ø  Previous occupation given as Boilermaker at the Kingston Locomotive Company

Ø  Previous military experience given as 15 years in 14th PWOR (Princess of Wales’ Own Rifles)

Ø  Religion given as Church of England

Ø  Assigned to the Depot Company

o   Employed as a Drummer in the battalion’s Bugle Band


The battalion trained in the Kingston area through the winter with headquarters in the Kingston Armouries


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec



May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


Aug 28, 1915

Transferred from the Depot Company to “B” Company

Rank shown as Lance Corporal


Sep 2, 1915

Transferred from “B” Company to “A” Company


Sep 15, 1915

Admitted to the Moore Barracks Hospital in Epsom with a depressed fracture of the skull over the right ear that happened during a training exercise when he was hit by a dummy bomb thrown by a comrade that had rendered him unconscious for several hours.  On one medical statement the accident is recorded as happening on September 7 but there are no other medical records or hospital admissions to confirm this

He was also suffering from Tonsillitis


Sep 23, 1915

Discharged from hospital 


Sep 25, 1915

Transferred to the 39th Reserve Battalion and employed in the Orderly Room


Nov 26, 1915

Admitted to the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade Hospital in Hastings and Shingles is added to the diagnosis of Skull Fracture


Dec 17, 1915

Transferred to the Shorncliffe Military Hospital

Medical Board at Shorncliffe notes:


Ø  Patient suffers from a fractured skull causing dizziness and headaches

Ø  Patient is deaf in the right ear as a result of the fracture

Ø  Patient’s condition is considered permanent and recommends Permanent Base duty with no marching


Jan 1, 1916

Discharged from hospital


Apr 30, 1916

Declared to be AWL (Absent Without Leave)


May 13, 1916

Reported for duty and forfeited 14 days pay and allowances for his absence and sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No. 2


Jun 21, 1916

Transferred to the COC (Canadian Ordnance Corps) in Ashford and reverted to the rank of Private at his own request


Mar 6, 1917

Transferred to the CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre) pending return to Canada


Mar 10, 1917

Attached to the CDD (Canadian Discharge Depot) in Buxton pending return to Canada


Mar 23, 1917

Embarked the SS Grampian in Liverpool



Apr 9, 1917

Disembarked in Saint John, New Brunswick and proceeded to Quebec City, Quebec for medical evaluation


Apr 18, 1917

After leaving Quebec City George Cottman proceeded to Kingston, Ontario where he was admitted to the Elmhurst Convalescent Home.  After assessment, he was released in order to be treated as an out-patient


Oct 31, 1917

Discharged from the CEF in Kingston

 Ø  Rank on discharge Private

Ø  War Service Badge Class “B” issued

Ø  Proposed residence on discharge 1 Chestnut St., Kingston, Ontario

Following his discharge the British War Medal was sent to him at 9 Chestnut St., Kingston


Dec 4, 1918

TOS (Taken On Strength) Military District No. 3 COC (Canadian Ordnance Corps)

Appointed to the Temporary Rank of Armament Corporal


Mar 29, 1919

Admitted to the Queen’s University Military Hospital in Kingston with a diagnosis that reads severe laceration in his left hand.  The wound was sutured and the dressing was changed daily while being treated as an out-patient


Apr 13, 1919

Discharged to duty from hospital care


Aug 20, 1919

Discharged from the CEF in Kingston, Ontario

 Ø  Rank on discharge Sergeant

Ø  Proposed residence on discharge 9 Chestnut St., Kingston


Jun 1, 1921

The 1921 Census shows George Cottman living at 9 Chestnut St., Kingston with his wife and family.  His occupation is shown as Musician

George Cottman died in Kingston in March of 1968 and was buried in the Cataraqui Cemetery there



Research Notes

Establishing an accurate timeline for the events that led to his skull fracture was extremely difficult to determine as there were 4 distinctly different versions of the event recorded as shown below.  The letter sent home to his wife was the easiest to dispel as he had already been in hospital for some time when the battalion entered the front line.  According to the dates in the letter, he was still in hospital, however his file clearly indicates that he had been discharged and posted to the 39th Reserve Battalion at that time, although he was admitted later for the same issue.  The idea that it happened in France at all was also dispelled as he was admitted to hospital the same day the battalion landed in Boulogne and backed up by the fact that there was no Victory Medal or 1914-15 Star issued.  This leaves West Sandling as the only place that it could have happened.  One account had it as an exploding bomb while practicing, however I discounted this as the preponderance of evidence indicates a dummy bomb and there were no shrapnel type injuries.  This was early in the battalion’s life and the habits of recording events were still being developed.  It would also appear that there are medical records missing from the file.


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