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eMedals-An 1854 India General Service Medal to a Canadian Sergeant

Item: GB4107

An 1854 India General Service Medal to a Canadian Sergeant

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An 1854 India General Service Medal to a Canadian Sergeant

An 1854 India General Service Medal to a Canadian Sergeant - HAZARA 1891, SAMANA 1891 (3777. SERGT. J. COTTLE. 1/K:R:R:C.). Naming is officially engraved. Light contact, better than very fine. Accompanied by a photograph of the wreck of the R.I.M.S. Warren Hastings and by copies of his British Attestation Papers, Service Records, Medical Records and India General Service Medal Roll, along with copies of his CEF Attestation Paper, Service Records, Medical Records, Discharge Certificate and Statement of Service in the Canadian Armed Forces, plus assorted research papers.  

Footnote: John William Cottle was born on May 23, 1867 in Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England, the son of John and Sarah Cottle, having one brother, James. He enlisted in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, signing his Attestation Paper on August 11, 1886 in London, England, at the age of 19 years, 3 months, for seven years service and to be on the Army Reserve roll for an additional five years. He stated that he had no previous military service, that he was not married and that his trade was that of Warehouseman. Five days later, he joined at the Rifle Depot, Winchester, Hampshire, for recruit training on the Square as Rifleman N. 3777 John Cottle of the KRRC. The 1st KRRC arrived at Parkhurst, Isle of Wight, with detachments at East Cowes and Marchwood. Having completed his recruit drills and passing off the Square, Rifleman Cottle was posted to the 1st KRRC, who were stationed at then at Parkhurst. He was granted a Second Class Certificate of Education on May 23, 1887. Cottle was appointed Lance Corporal on May 7, 1886, reverting to Rifleman on June 6th, returning to Lance Corporal on on July 16, 1889, appointed Corporal on January 1, 1890, in addition to being granted an additional Mounted Infantry Certificate on March 4th. He embarked Portsmouth for India aboard HMS Crocodile on November 25, 1890, with a strength of 21 officers and 825 NCOs and Riflemen, Cottle having promoted to the rank of Sergeant that day. Embarking at Bombay, India on December 29th, he made his way with the 1st KRRC to Rawal Pindi at the West Ridge, on January 8, 1891. It was here that he earned his India General Service Medal with the Hazara and Samana clasps, as documented in the detailed and extensive research papers accompanying this group. 

While still in India on November 1, 1893, he extended his service, completing twelve years with the KRRC, finishing in India on December 5, 1896. The 1st KRRC embarked Bombay on December 11, 1896 aboard RIMS Warren Hastings, bound for Cape Town, South Africa. They arrived in South Africa on the 28th, sailing for Mauritius on January 6, 1897, including Sergeant Cottle aboard with "A" Company. The ship was off course by eight miles, running aground during torrential rains in the Indian Ocean. All but two, a ship's cook and an officer's servant, survived the mishap. The shipwrecked troops were put up by the locals and eventually were picked up by the S.S. Lalpoora. Sergeant Cottle was admitted to hospital for twenty-two days treatment for dyspepsia (also known as upset stomach or indigestion, a condition of impaired digestion), probably alcohol-related on April 2nd and convicted by District Court Martial of drunkenness on May 1st, being reduced to the rank of Corporal. He was then convicted by a Regimental Court Martial of disobedience and drunkenness while on duty on May 12th, being reduced to the rank of Rifleman. He returned to England and was transferred to Section "C" of the 1st Class Army Reserve at his own request on his reduction to the ranks on August 15, 1897.

One year later, on August 10, 1898, he was discharged at the Rifle Depot, Gosport, Hampshire, having served twelve years with the KRRC, 362 days of which were on the Army Reserve. John Cottle once again enlisted for two years service with the Royal Garrison Regiment as 4516 Private John Cottle. He signed his Attestation Paper on February 5, 1902, at St. George's Barracks, London, stating that he had served with the KRRC, that he was not married and that his trade was that of Railway Servant. He embarked on September 20, 1902 for Garrison duty in Canada with the 5th Royal Garrison Regiment and extended his service with the Regiment for another two years on December 17, 1903. He was discharged at Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 14, 1905 with a pension and a bounty. His conduct was listed as "Fair", with Cottle stating that he intended to reside afterwards in Halifax. With the Fisrt World War hostilities heating up in Europe, Cottle enlisted on February 3, 1916, signing his CEF Attestation Paper with the 64th Battalion in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on February 25, 1916, stating that he had ten months service in the 66th Regiment, that he was single and that his trade was that of Clerk. Upon enlistment, 471117 Private Cottle listed his date of birth as May 29, 1877, not 1867 and he failed to state his service with the KRRC. His true age eventually caught up to him later, while in France in 1917, as he was found to be over age for military service.

ALSO OF NOTE, his Statement of Service in the Canadian Armed Forces states his birth date as May 23, 1870 in London, England. The Battalion was raised in the province of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island with mobilization headquarters at Halifax, under the authority of G.O. 103A, August 15, 1915. The Battalion embarked Halifax aboard the S.S. Adriatic on March 31, 1916, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel H.M. Campbell with a strength of 38 officers and 1,098 other ranks, disembarking in Liverpool, England on April 9th. Cottle was transferred to and taken on strength by the 40th Canadian Reserve Battalion on July 6, 1916 at Shorncliffe, then transferred to the 37th Battalion on November 28th. He was transferred again, this time to the 1st Canadian Labour Battalion at Shoreham on December 18th, being taken on strength on the 20th. Cottle proceeded overseas for service in the French theatre on January 8, 1917, disembarking at Le Havre,France on the 11th.

He suffered abnormalities to his feet in mid-February 1917 and was diagnosed with Trench Foot on March 20th, from being "Frozen", as stated in his medical report. It continued to plague him and he was declared physically unable to continue serving at the front, forcing him to be attached to the Canadian Corps Composite Company. It was here in late May, that he was discovered to be overage for military service. By December 1st, he found himself back in England for the remainder of the war. His medical report at Netley Hospital on December 18, 1918 states that he was found to be suffering from debility, deformed toes and from arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). He was discharged from active service by reason of "being medically unfit" on February 22, 1919 at Halifax, still maintaining his age to be 41 years and 9 months, a full ten years younger than his actual age. He was eligible for the British War and Victory Medal for his First World War service, which are not included here. The Department of Veterans Affairs records indicate that Cottle died on Februray 20, 1941, in Halifax, at the age of 73.  

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