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CWGC record shows:
William Albert Gotts
Serjeant 13447 1st Bn., Grenadier Guards
who died on Wednesday, 21st October 1914. Age 25.
Additional Information: Son of Mrs. Gotts, of 112, Chandos Rd., Stratford, London; husband of E. Docking (formerly Gotts, of 34, Barclay Rd., Walthamstow. Essex.
William Albert enlisted on 7 Nov 1907 when he was 17, according to the Soldier’s Effects, but we don’t have his attestation record. We know he was a painter before enlisting.
In 1911 he is in the census in Wellington barracks, London,
Rank: acting schoolmaster sergeant, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards,
age 21 b 1890 Single, occupation: School assistant, born in Essex -Stratford
So he presumably was teaching in the Guards school?
He married Elizabeth Bond Leighton in December 1911, and they had a daughter in 1912.
In the Soldiers Effects there are two accounts for him. The first lists him as Killed in Action near Ypres on 21 Oct 1914 and £5/15/1d was paid to her in January 1915.
The second account of 4/2d is paid to Elizabeth Docking in 1920. His widow, Elizabeth, had married Charles Docking late in 1915, hence the change of name.
His Medal Roll Card shows little extra, except that he was entitled to the clasp to the 1914 star, showing that he had served under fire between August and November 1914.
1 Bn Grenadier Guards was formed in September 1914, and moved to Lyndhurst for training as part of 20 Brigade, 7 Division. On Sunday 4 Oct they were mobilised at very short notice, and marched from Lyndhurst to Southampton. Sailing on 5 Oct, they landed at Zeebrugge in Belgium on 7 October 1914.
According to the Grenadier Guards website he died on 21 October in the 1st Battle of Ypres. The Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including the First Battle of Ypres after which only 4 officers and 200 men remained of the Battalion.
For more details of William’s 14 days in Belgium see the next page.