Topic: Charles Kenneth Cotton

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Charles Kenneth Cotton (Service no. 26995) enlisted for the First World War with a Peterborough Street address.

Charles Kenneth Cotton Charles Cotton was born on the 12th of November 1877 to Robert Cotton, an accountant at the Union Bank of Australia in Lyttelton, and his wife Madeline.

Charles was a member of a large family, who experienced more than their fair share of tragedy.  Elder brother Robert was born in 1868 and died aged 21 of typhoid.  Sister Elizabeth Charlotte was born in 1872 and died aged 12, and an unnamed younger brother died aged just 4 months in February 1883.

Another brother, Patrick James, was born in 1874 and like Charles served in both the Boer War and WW1, including at Gallipoli.  He served in the Territorial Army after WW1, and tried to volunteer for WW2 at the age of 66.

A further brother, Francis Richard, born in 1876, fell into the sea in December 1885, but was "pluckily rescued".  Seven years later he managed to dislocate his arm in the school playground. These early misadventures cannot have had a long lasting effect as he too fought in the Boer War with the 6th Contingent and lived until the ripe old age of 75.

In 1902 Charles volunteered for the Boer War, and served with the 9th Contingent, North Island Regiment. In his 5 months of service (March-July 1902) he reached the rank of Orderly Room Sergeant.

Charles married Ethel Kate Bromley on the 12th of February 1915 at All Saints Church in Sumner, and in May of the next year he volunteered for military service.  Charles was living with his wife at 121 Peterborough Street, which was probably a boarding house at that time.

Charles left Christchurch on 31st May 1916 as part of the 17th Re-enforcements - Canterbury Infantry Regiment, seeing action in Northern Europe until the war ended.  He again reached the rank of Sergeant.  He finally arrived back in New Zealand 10th May 1919, 6 months after Armistice and was discharged on 6th June 1919, having served just over 2 years and 7 months overseas. He received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal in honour of his service in 1922.

Charles and Ethel did not have any children, and Ethel died on 25th January 1924 aged 42.

Whilst not serving in the army Charles appears to have been a keen sportsman, being listed regularly in the papers playing hockey, golf, cricket, cycling, athletics and rifle-shooting.

Charles died in Christchurch on the 9th February 1941, aged 63.  His headstone at Bromley cemetery acknowledges his time with the Canterbury Regiment in the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force.


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Charles Kenneth Cotton

First Names:Charles Kenneth
Last Name:Cotton
Place of Birth:Lyttelton, Canterbury