b. 04/07/1893 Drayton, Oxfordshire. d. 20/10/1967 Witney, Oxfordshire.
Edward John Mott (1893-1967) was born at Drayton, near Abingdon, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire) on 4th July 1893. His father, John, was an agricultural labourer, and married Jane Sophia Harris in 1867 and lived in Drayton. Edward’s mother was Lydia nee Bradfield, a tailoress. She had previously married John William Woodley, a railway porter in 1874 and they lived in Oxfordshire. Jane died in 1891, while John Woodley died in 1883. Edward’s parents married on 23rd September 1892 in Abingdon. Edward had seventeen siblings from his parents’ three marriages.
Edward was educated at Abingdon Council School, and enlisted on 31st December 1910 and took part in the Gallipoli landings on 25th April 1915. Three days later, on 28th April 1915, at Krithnia, he led his company to successive fire positions over difficult terrain. For this action he was awarded the DCM (LG 3rd July 1915). He was also Mentioned in Despatches on 5th August 1915. When the Helles sector was evacuated in January 1916 he accompanied his unit to Egypt and moved to France in March. Edward was wounded and shell shocked on 30th June 1916 and was evacuated to England, missing the opening of the Battle of the Somme. He returned to France at the beginning of the winter campaigns.
On 27th January 1917 south of Le Transloy, France, an attack by Sergeant Mott's company was held up at a strong-point by machine-gun fire. Although severely wounded in the eye, Sergeant Mott made a rush for the gun and after a fierce struggle seized the gunner and took him prisoner, capturing the gun. It was due to the dash and initiative of this NCO that the left flank attack succeeded.
The Victoria Cross, gazetted on 10th March 1917, was presented by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 4th April 1917. He was discharged as no longer fit for active service on 16th March 1919 and was awarded the Silver War Badge on 12th June.
Edward married Evelyn Maud nee Hopgood on 2nd September 1918 at Alverstoke, Hampshire. They lived in Witney, Oxfordshire and went on to have eight children – Kenneth, Rona, George, Nora, Norman, Ena, Bernard and Edna. After leaving the Army, Edward became a commissionaire at Selfridge’s on Oxford Street, London. He was a member of the VC Guard at the interment of the Unknown Warrior on 11th November 1920. From 1926 to 1940 he worked at an RAF Depot and then ran a family building firm with his son Bernard.
Edward died at his home at 38 New Yatt Road, Witney on 20th October 1967. He was cremated at Oxford Crematorium where his ashes were scattered. In addition to his VC and DCM, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 with Mentioned in Despatches oakleaf, George VI Coronation Medal 1937, and Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953. The VC was reported stolen in the 1930s, but probably went missing in the 1920s. A replacement, issued on 9th September 1937, was purchased by the Regiment at a Glendinning’s auction on 3rd March 1967 for £1,950. It is held by the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment Museum, Carlisle Castle. Lester Watson, an investment banker from Boston, USA, amassed an impressive collection of 411 British gallantry and campaign medals during his lifetime. His son, Hoyt, donated the collection to Cambridge, Massachusetts after his father’s death in 1959. The collection is on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and contains the original VC, DCM and 1914-15 Star awarded to Edward Mott. It is not known about the whereabouts of the original British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM, CAMBRIDGE.
BURIAL PLACE: OXFORD CREMATORIUM, HEADINGTON, OXFORD. PLAQUE IN CLOISTER 3.
Mott's original medal was stolen, though Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge believe they have the original. The replacement VC and his other medals are held by the Border Regiment, Carlisle (Thomas Stewart).
St Peter's Church, Drayton (Steve Lee)