Private 29022 Alfred Henry Bott

 Bott Alfred 96 400x600

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 28th November 1917, age 24.
Buried in Grave I. C. 34. at Anneux British Cemetery, Nord, France.

4th Bn., Grenadier Guards. 3 (Gds) Brigade of Guards Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Wolverhampton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/187741/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Alfred Henry Bott registered in March quarter 1893 at Dudley.

1901 Census
370 Whitehall Road, Greets Green, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Alfred Henry Bott (32, Road Foreman - Corporation, born Tipton), his wife Annie Attwood (29, born Cradley), and their 4 children: Esther Holland (9, born Tipton), Alfred Henry (8, born Tipton), Beatrice May (4, born Tipton), and Nellie Attwood (3, born Tipton).

No sign of Alfred Henry Bott (jnr) on 1911 Census, rest of family still in Whitehall Road.
1911 Census
365 Whitehall Road, Greets Green, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Alfred Henry Bott (42, Builder's Foreman, born Great Bridge), his wife Annie A. (38, born Cradley), and 3 of their 4 surviving children of 5: Esther H. (19, born Great Bridge), Beatrice M. (14, born Great Bridge), and Nellie A. (13, born Great Bridge).

Personal Data

Alfred would appear to have been a Wolverhampton Postal Worker as his name appears on the Wolverhampton Postal Workers memorial; this is featured on Doug Lewis's site at: www.wolverhamptonwarmemorials.org.uk/memorial_pages/Works/wolverhampton_area_postal_worker.htm

After Alfred's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £6/12/2d (6 pounds, 12 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Anne A., in April 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Alfred had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

The 1925 National Probate Calendar recorded:
BOTT Alfred Henry of 30 Argyle Road Wolverhampton died 28 November 1917 in France. Administration (with Will) Lichfield 31 August to Annie Attwood Bott widow. [Editor: Annie was Alfred's mother]. 
Effects £128 14s. 2d.

Action resulting in his death

The Battle of Cambrai commenced on November 20th 1917 with the objective of breaking the Hindenburg Line and threatening Cambrai, an important railway centre for the Germans. The battle is mainly known for the mass use of tanks.

On the extreme left of the attack was Bourlon Wood which gave the German defenders the strategic advantage of greater height and hence observation. Despite major advances on 20th November, Bourlon and Bourlon Wood were not taken, sowing the seeds of the failure of the Battle of Cambrai. Despite further attacks over the next week, the majority of gains had been made on the first day.

The British had forced a salient into the German lines approximately 5 miles deep and 6 miles wide. On the 30th November, the Germans counter-attacked on both sides of this salient attempting to encircle it. The German success on this day saw the majority of the British gains lost, and as the battle closed little progress had been made.

The 4th Grenadier Guards (4/GG)
The 4/GG had only arrived in the Cambrai area on the 23rd November, after last being in action north of Ypres in October 1917. On the 24th, they moved up to Flesquières and Anneux, and on the next day were loaned to 40th Division for an attack into Bourlon Wood. The Grenadiers did not come into action and just acted as a Reserve and suffered no casualties.

On the 26th November, the 4/GG were again loaned out, this time to the 2nd Guards Brigade for an attack on Fontaine. They were to provide a protective flank for the attacking troops. Despite the attack reaching its objectives, severe losses forced the withdrawal to the start line. The 4/GG remained as flank guard, but did have to fight off a strong German counter-attack.

The Regimental History ‘Grenadier Guards in the Great War’ says that on the 27th November, the 4th Grenadier Guards were relieved and marched back to Flesquières. On the next day, the 28th, they moved to Trescault where they pitched a camp between Trescault and Havrincourt Wood.

The Regimental History then reports “The enemy's aircraft left them no peace, and so the tents were struck the next morning (29th), and pitched again in Havrincourt Wood.”

Alfred Bott was killed on the 28th November; as the 4th Grenadier Guards were not in action that day it is possible that his death was due to the action of the enemy aircraft. Alfred is buried in Anneux British Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings