National Army Soldier (Sergeant) Albert Redvers Cottle


National Army Soldier (Sergeant) Albert Redvers Cottle (age 21) of 25 Grattan Street, Dublin (Tobereenmire near Watergrasshill)

Date of incident: 30 Aug. 1922

Source: Death Certificate (Cork Urban District No. 4, Union of Cork), 30 Aug. 1922; CE, 31 Aug. 1922; FJ, 31 Aug. 1922; Sunday Independent, 3 Sept. 1922; MSPC/2D34 (Military Archives); List of FSS Cork Civil War Deaths; O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 203; Keane (2017), 300-301, 417; http://www.irishmedals.ie/National-Army-Killed.php (accessed 3 July 2017). 


Note: A party of twelve National Army soldiers travelling in a Crossley tender and a Lancia car from Cork to Fermoy were ambushed on 30 August 1922 by Irregulars at Tobereenmire near Watergrasshill. A land mine exploded under the Crossley tender, mortally wounding the driver Sergeant Albert Cottle and injuring three other soldiers. Cottle, the right side of whose face ‘was practically blown away’, died soon after admission to the North Infirmary in Cork city. He had come only a day earlier from Dublin, where he had been attached to the Motor Transport Corps at Wellington Barracks. See CE, 31 Aug. 1922; MSPC/2D34 (Military Archives). 

The bodies of Sergeant Cottle, Captain Hugh Thornton, and Lieutenant Cyril Lee left Cork on the SS. Minerva on Wednesday evening, 30 August, and were scheduled to arrive in Dublin on the morning of 31 August. Their remains were then to be taken to Portobello Barracks. The three National soldiers were to be buried together in Glasnevin Cemetery on 2 September. See FJ, 31 Aug. 1922. Sergeant Cottle had been engaged to be married. His fiancée Lily Long was one of the chief mourners at his funeral. See Sunday Independent, 3 Sept. 1922.      

Though Cottle gave his address as 25 Grattan Street, Dublin, his family’s address (and perhaps his own) was 1 Myrtle Terrace, Marsh Road, Weymouth, Dorsetshire. He was the son of William Charles Cottle (a general labourer) and Bessie Cottle; they were the parents of two young children living at home in 1924. See MSPC/2D34. 

The application of the victim’s mother Bessie Cottle for a gratuity from the Army Pensions Board included the statement that the ‘head and face’ of her son Albert had been ‘partially blown away’ in the land-mine explosion. ‘When living [at] home with me,’ wrote his mother of her dead son in November 1923, ‘he was working & helping to support our home. After leaving home through lack of employment to join the army, he was making an allowance of 5 shillings & 3 pence per week, which I was enabled to draw by his Army Ring Card through the Post Office.’ See Bessie Cottle’s Claim, 30 Nov. 1923, MSPC/2D34. Sergeant Cottle’s father was unemployed for most of 1921, and since early 1922 he had done ‘relief work’ and earned about £2 per week. His mother Bessie suffered from ‘heart trouble’. There were two other children at home under the age of 12. See Superintendent’s Office, Dorset Constabulary (Weymouth), to Garda Chief Commissioner of Police (Dublin Castle), 3 Feb. 1924, MSPC/2D34. The Army Pensions Board nevertheless determined that because Bessie Cottle was ‘in no way dependant on your son, an award cannot be made to you’. See Board to Bessie Cottle, 19 May 1924, MSPC/2D34.   

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