VAD James Arthur Gott

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

Red Cross, St John Ambulance Brigade and Royal Army Medical Corpsbadges

James Arthur Gott

Transport of Wounded, Air Raids, Sick Nursing etc

One of the youngest VADs in the Worth Valley area, James Arthur Gott was only 13 years old when he volunteered. He was born on 19th August 1902 in Keighley, the youngest surviving child of Arthur and Hannah Gott (nee Binns), both of Keighley.

The family lived at 7 Wharfe Street (back to back with Thorn Street so either address was used) at the time of the 1911 census. Arthur was working as a worsted spindle straightener. Older siblings still at home were Ernest, aged 17 and a leather belting maker for tanning machinery, and Lilian was 12, working as a doffer in a worsted factory.

An older brother, Willie, had left the family home and emigrated to the USA. He married and had a family in Chautauqua, New York.

James was a VAD from December 1916 as a ward orderly at Spencer Street Auxiliary Hospital and was still serving at the time of the record completion in May 1919, completing 2,000 hours. In addition, from July 1917 until May 1919, he worked 1,216 hours in the transport of wounded soldiers air raids and sick nursing at Spencer Street and Morton Banks War Hospital.

He possibly joined as a VAD in support of his brother Ernest who was serving with the 2nd/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment. Sadly Corporal Ernest Gott died on 27th November 1917 and is buried at the Cambrai Memorial in Calais.

Willie served also, for the US Army, and thankfully survived.

Following the war, James remained at the family home. His father had died in 1914 and electoral registers show James living with his mother for some years. His sister Lilian died in 1920.

In 1926 James and his mother travelled to the USA, presumably to visit Willie, and Hannah's sister who had also emigrated there some years earlier.

The passenger list when James and Hannah visited the USA

He married Louisa Darnbrook during the second quarter of 1930 in Keighley. I haven't found a record of them having any children.

They lived at Wharfe/Thorn Street with Hannah until Hannah's death in 1934 and were still there in 1939, when James was working as an iron turner in textile engineering, the 1939 Register indicates that this became a munitions role during World War Two. There is a note saying 'Prince Smith & Stells' which was a textile engineering firm that turned to manufacturing munitions, producing 1, 057, 515 spike bayonets. In addition, he volunteered as an ARP and lecturer in first aid.

The 1939 Register

At some point James and Louisa moved to 29 Cliffe Terrace in Spring Bank, Keighley.
James died in Keighley on 7th October 1978. Louisa died in 1995.


England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1911 England Census
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
U.S., World War 1 Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
1920 United States Federal Census
England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
1939 England and Wales Register
England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007

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