L/Cpl
Alfred Cottrell

Information about birth

Year of birth:
1895
Place of birth:
Pickmere, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom

General information

last known residence:
6, Hart Street, Altrincham, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom
Profession:
Shop Assistant

Army information

Country:
England, United Kingdom
Force:
British Expeditionary Force
Rank:
Lance Corporal
Service number:
33035
Enlistment date:
10/12/1915
Enlistment place:
Altrincham, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom
Units:
 —  Cheshire Regiment, 13th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
10/08/1917
Place of death:
Westhoek, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
22

Memorial

Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel: 19L

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 ‘Place of death’

My story

Alfred Cottrell, a former window cleaner, was born in Pickmere, Cheshire, England. He was the son of Joseph and Alice Cottrell. He enlisted on December 10, 1915, at Altrincham, Cheshire, England. He served as a lance corporal in the 13th Battalion Cheshire Regiment, of the 74th Brigade, of the 25th Division.

On the 10th of August 1917, the 74th Brigade took part in an attack on Westhoek, south of the Ypres-Roulers railway. They attacked on a frontline of about 1800 metres (2000 yards) wide, running parallel from the Frezenbergstraat from the railway until the crossroads south of Westhoek, near Glencorse Wood. The 74th Brigade attacked, from left to right, with the 11th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, the 9th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, the 2nd Irish Rifles and the 13th Battalion Cheshire Regiment. This attack had two objectives. The main objective was the Black Line running east of Westhoek from the Ypres-Roulers railway to Glencorse Wood. The Red Line, the second objective, was just 100 metres in front of the Black Line. The goal of this objective was to protect the men consolidating Black Line.

At 4:35 a.m. the attack commenced. The 13th Battalion Cheshire Regiment attacked in four waves. The first wave suffered heavy losses and failed to move up. The second and third wave were able to capture the Black Line, although the left flank was held up for a while by a strongpoint south of Westhoek. This point was eventually captured, but the left flank had suffered many casualties. This made it impossible for them to link up with the battalion on their right until after nightfall. At the end of the attack the 13th Battalion occupied the Black Line, from a point about 200 metres from the Frezenbergstraat-Grote Molenstraat crossroads to the north-western corner of Glencorse Wood. The fourth wave was supposed to move to the Red Line but came under heavy artillery fire on the way. The war diary states that only 1 NCO. and 14 men made it to the Red Line.

The front of the battalion was protected from counterattack by the Hanebeek Vally. This gentle stream had turned into a 30-metre-wide mud field. However, at 9:00 a.m. the troops in Glencorse Wood evacuated, opening the right fank of the battalion to enfilade fire from strongpoints in the wood. The troops held this position under shellfire until their relief on 11 August 1917. The war diary estimates 50 men were killed, 266 were wounded and 56 were missing between august 5th and 11th, 1917.

Alfred Cottrell, aged 22, was killed in action on August 10, 1917. Lance corporal Cottrell has no known grave and is remembered on panel 19L of the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Sources 3

13 Battalion Cheshire Regiment (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), WO 95/2246/3).
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
Sources used
74 Infantry Brigade: Headquarters (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), WO 95/2245/2).
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
Sources used
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911 (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), RG14).
https://www.ancestry.com/
Sources used

More information 2