Samuel Arnold Gott
Corporal Samuel Arnold Gott of the 21st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Pioneers). Service number 839.
Samuel was born 1892 at Cross Roads to parents Joseph, a joiner and builder, and Alice Gott. His birth was registered at Keighley in the third quarter of the year.
In 1901 at the age of 8 he was living at 2, Croft Place in Cross Roads with his parents and two older brothers George and William.
They were all still there in 1911 with the inclusion of their sister Sarah and a grandson Clifford aged four. Samuel was 18 and a joiner in his father's business which was now described as 'Joiner and Undertaker.'
Samuel attended Lees Council School and later, Keighley Technical School which would be part of his apprenticeship and he clearly excelled in this trade. In 1914 he won first prize of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters - a certificate and silver medal, plus a cash prize of five pounds. His apprentice piece was purchased for the Science Museum in London where it is still in their collection. This award is detailed in the Keighley News report below.
Samuel joined the Army in 1915, serving with the 21st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Pioneers).
He was killed in action by a shell on 4th April 1917 and is buried at Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras. Grave Reference: Plot III. Row M. Grave 28.
Note: the Battle of Arras began on 9th April 1917 and Samuel's Pioneer company were involved in the extensive trench preparations that led up to it. He is named in the war diary, which was unusual for an enlisted man and quite notable, given the letter written to his parents by his commanding officer.
War diary entry:
March 9, 1917.
Working near ARRAS:
9th to 31st March: Work under XVII Corps at ETRUN, ST. CATHERINE and ST. NICHOLAS.
April 1, 1917.
Strength on this date 38 Officers 981 Other ranks.
Work under XVII Corps at ETRUN, ST. CATHERINE and ST. NICHOLAS preparing roads at tramways for advance. Casualty 1 man wounded D Company.
Work under XVII Corps at ETRUN, ST. CATHERINE and ST. NICHOLAS preparing roads at tramways for advance. Casualties, 3 men wounded C Company.
Work under XVII Corps at ETRUN, ST. CATHERINE and ST. NICHOLAS preparing roads at tramways for advance.
Work under XVII Corps at ETRUN, ST. CATHERINE and ST. NICHOLAS preparing roads at tramways for advance. Casualties, Cpl GOTT killed - 1 man wounded D Company.
(The Battle of Arras began on the 9th April.)
Keighley News report dated 21st April 1917, Page 3:
CROSS ROADS - CORPORAL S. A. GOTT KILLED.
News reached Mr Joseph Gott, Croft Place, Cross Roads, Keighley, on Tuesday morning from the Infantry Record Office, York, of the death in action of his youngest son, Samuel Arnold Gott, in France. Corporal Gott was 24 years of age, and joined the colours 14 months ago, and left for France last June.
In civil life Corporal Gott assisted his father in the joinery and building business. From his early schooldays at Lees Council School he gave evidence of artistic taste and practical draughtsmanship, and he won prizes in national competitions before he was 12 years of age. He was earnest, hard working, and thorough, these qualities marking his career as a student in the practical course he attended at the Keighley Technical School Building Trades Department, where in 1914 he particularly distinguished himself and brought honour to Keighley by carrying off the first prize of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters for his model of a mansard roof truss, 30ft span, details half size. This carried with it £5, a certificate, and a silver medal, and the model was later purchased from the winner by the Board of Education for permanent exhibition in the South Kensington Science Museum. (This model is still in their collection today.)
Corporal Gott's special qualifications had been put to excellent use at the front, and from time to time he had complete management in constructing and erecting military buildings of various types. His letters home were full of interest, and he clearly bent all his energies to the business of his particular unit, and faced all difficulties with cheerfulness and a keen sense of humour. Captain S. J. Brazier wrote Mr Gott on April 5: "I cannot sufficiently express my sorrow and that of every officer, NCO, and man in the company at the great loss we have sustained by your son's death. He was a good, brave soldier, and never knew what fear was; always put duty before everything, his work being always his first care. We all deeply sympathise with you in your very sad loss."
Another letter has also been received from his friend, Corporal J. Hartley, who says: "As an NCO he was one of the most efficient and most popular men in the battalion." Corporal Gott was buried by the Chaplain in the cemetery of ----, in the presence of a number of his friends.
As a gallant soldier, clever craftsman, of manly character, Corporal Gott will be greatly missed, and general sympathy is expressed with Mr Gott and his family.
Samuel is buried in Fauborg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras. Grave Reference: III. M. 28.
After the war:
Samuel's parents would have received his medals and a memorial plaque for his sacrifice in the war. His father Joseph also received £9, 10 shillings of Samuel's outstanding pay and later, a war gratuity of £5.
He is remembered locally on the Cross Roads War Memorial in the Cross Roads Bowling Club memorial building in Cross Roads Park, and on the Cross Roads Primitive Methodist Sunday School roll of honour, which is now mounted on the wall in this building alongside the main war memorial.
Keighley News 'In Memoriam' section 6th April 1918:
GOTT - In loving memory of our dear son and brother, Corporal Samuel Arnold Gott, aged 24 years (West Yorkshire Regiment Pioneers), who was killed by shell in France, April 4th, 1917, and was buried in Rue, D'Amiens Cemetery,
He sleeps in a grave in a far-off land
That comrades kindly made him:
May he rest in peace in his narrow bed
Where friendly hands have laid him.
Also of our dear son and brother George Mundella Gott, of Croft Place, Cross Roads, who died April 20, 1914, aged 33 years.
Only those who have lost can understand.
From Father, Brother, Sister, and Nephew.
GOTT - In ever loving memory of our dear friend, Corporal Samuel Arnold Gott (West Yorkshire Regiment Pioneers), who was killed in action in France April 4th 1917.
"May his reward be as great as his sacrifice."
From his loving friends at 10, Halifax Road, Cross Roads.
(We suspect these friends were Alfred and Louisa Hudson, who were on the elctoral register for 10, Halifax Road in 1913 and later in 1919.)
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920 WO95/1472/3 - 21 Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (PIONEERS) (1916 Jun - 1919 Feb)
The Worshipful Company of Carpenters website
The photograph of the Mansard Roof Model made by Samuel Gott appears by kind courtesy of the Science Museum, London and by association with our friends at Keighley and District Local History Society.
Note: As part of the agreement with the Science Museum, we shared all our research and the photograph of Samuel to enhance their own records on his Mansard model in their collection.