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During the war, George married Evelyn (Eva) Beagley in Hampstead in November 1916. He Service record shows when he had 10 days leave.
At the end of the October 1918, George was seen by a Medical Board, and graded as ‘B2’, which means ‘fit for service abroad but not general service’. In other words he was not fit for fighting, but he did not need any treatment. He was recommended to be repatriated to Canada and demobilised.
His service record does not show any medical problems other than the concussion in 1915, though it notes that before he enlisted in 1914 he had had acute rheumatic fever.
In February 1919 he is in Gt Warley, Essex, one of the big army bases, waiting to be demobilised. He had opted to be demobbed in England, but it took until 14 August 1919 for it to happen.
In Warley, he is listed as a Clerk, and he requested to be demoted to Corporal, though the reasons are not recorded. Maybe he was struggling to cope with his fitness, despite only being 26, and opted for less responsibility, or maybe this was an easier way to be demobbed in England, staying with his wife.
On 11 July 1919, his record shows he was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’. This means his name is mentioned in the London Gazette. The citation is in the Supplement to 11 July 1919 p 8819 and within a long list of Canadian soldiers it says “ The following is a continuation of Sir D. Haig's Despatch of 16th March, 1919, submitting names deserving of special mention:
2nd Battalion Eastern Ontario Regiment: Gotts, 8328, Sjt G. “
This is interesting , as the war was over, so is this due to his time supporting the Divisional HQ, or was it done for all Canadian soldiers as they demobbed?
George settled in England with his wife Eva, and two children born in 1918 and 1920, in the Newbury area.
Nearly 620,000 Canadians enlisted in WW1, and 424,000 served overseas. 51,748 of the CEF were killed due to enemy action and 138,000 wounded. They took part in many key battles as can be seen from George’s experience.
They have a memorial near Vimy Ridge, one of their major successes.
These huge towers look out East over the plain towards Douai. At the front is this statue of ‘Mother Canada weeping’. On the memorial are the names of 11,000 missing Canadian soldiers.