George Otter

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Number: 572696        Unit: The London Regiment

Rank: Corporal                   Commemorated:
                                   Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium

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Personal Details.
Born at Kirkstead, George was 27 years old when he died.  He enlisted at Shoreditch - the reason for which I am unsure.  Perhaps he was working in that area prior to the war.  He was the son of George Edward Otter, who with his wife, still lived at Kirkstead.


Service Details.
After enlistment, George found himself in the 1/17th Battalion of The London Regiment.  This regiment existed between 1908 and 1937 and was formed from the various volunteer battalions that existed within the Greater London Area.  The regiment contained 26 battalions.  A further 6 battalions were raised during the Great War. With its 26 peacetime battalions, The London Regiment was the largest infantry regiment in the british army.  In 1916, each battalion of the London Regiment became part of a regular regiment and so the 1/17th became part of The Rifle Brigade, serving with the 47th Division in France and Belgium.

The commanding officer of the battalion was Lt. Col. Hughes and I now quote an extract from his personal diary which covers the period for the end of August 1917:

“We marched from the Ramparts at Ypres to take over the front line which extended from the cross-roads at westhoek along the front of Nonne-Bosschen Wood to the corner of Glencorse wood with 3 companies in the front line and one in support with the HQ on Bellewarde Ridge.  The actual front line was a series of posts with a face support line immediately in rear.  There had obviously been very heavy fighting in this area, our trenches were full of our dead and had been vacated in a dreadful condition by the outgoing division.  However, we made a great effort to consolidate our posts and the immediate support line and succeeded to a wonderful degree.  The conditions were all against us, being subjected night and day to an infernal fire with severe losses, but the men came through the ordeal with the greatest credit.  Even the releif of this sector was a dreadful adventure, the roads were simply swept with fire during the hours of darkness, and I always felt that immediately I left the Menin Gate it was quite a toss up whether I could get my whole battalion or one man only to our immediate objective.  The Officers, NCO’s and men knew that fact equally well and it was a pleasure to see them moving off in heavy marching order with their faces set with grim determination full of courage moving forward steadily under heavy fire with perfect order and neat formation.  This tour of duty was again completed with great credit accompanied with the usual serious losses and once again we returned on relief by the 25th Division to the Ramparts at Ypres”.

From a letter written home by George’s Company Commander, we are told George died as a result of receiving a wound to his stomach as he was faithfully carrying out his duty in the line.  From this, and the diary extracts, we can assume George was killed whilst carrying out work to consolidate his position.  He had been in France for about a year prior to his death on the 19th August 1917.

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