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John William was another son of William and Alice Gotts who fought in WW1.
At Norwich on the 22nd August, 1904, Jack was attested fit for enlistment in the 3rd Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment. After forty-nine days’ work as a private, he was posted to the Regular Forces ( East Yorkshire Regiment ). Army Records state that he was a bottler by trade, with H. LAWRENCE & Son at Yarmouth. He served overseas with the 2nd Battalion, arriving in India at a time when over 16% of HQ strength was suffering from malarial fever. He served at various garrisons and was principally engaged in manoeuvres, training inspections and street patrol during the Bukra Riots of November 1912.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Great War, his battalion sailed from Bombay to England, arriving at Winchester to form part of the 83rd Infantry Brigade of the 28th Division. He formed part of the British Expeditionary Force in France for just nine months between January and October 1915, during which time he was promoted to Lance-Corporal (February), Corporal (April) and Sergeant (August), and was engaged in various costly actions on the Ypres Sector and at the Battle of Loos. A severely depleted battalion was finally relieved in early October and towards the end of the month the 28th Division left France for Salonika.
The Campaign in Macedonia involved defending the Allied Front against Bulgarian attacks, as well as some routine patrol work and local raids, all of this in appalling conditions with ever increasing malaria and dysentery. The most significant Allied movement of this period occurred in late September 1918, when the battalion climbed over 3,000 feet to cross the Bulgarian frontier. No opposition was encountered, and the advance was stopped when orders were received that all hostilities were to cease forthwith, the Bulgarian government having signed the peace convention.
Further overseas service took Jack to India ( thirteen months between August 1919 and September 1920), at the time of Gandhi’s civil disobedience campaign and the Afghan Wars; to Mesopotamia ( two years between September 1919 and December 1922 ), where he received his final promotion to Company Quarter Master Sergeant; and to Turkey ( six months in 1923 ), where the Middle East crisis almost precipitated war.
Jack was discharged in October 1925, and returned to 29, Granville Road, Southtown, to his wife Dora and sister-in-law Edith. He took with him an exemplary military service record of twenty-one years, a 1914-18 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, Greek War Cross, and General Service Medal with Clasp Iraq. Two younger brothers Arthur Walter and Maxwell William, however, had been less fortunate. Four years later, in 1929, Jack died following a motor cycle accident which aggravated disease caught during his long army service.
Thanks to Ian Gotts of Kings Lynn for this