Pte Patrick Cotter

Co. Tipperary

Early Life

Patrick Cotter was born in Fethard, Co.Tipperary in 1894.

His father seemed to be a farmer and his mother died during childbirth.

His Father remarried and Patrick became one of five children.

His family moved from Fethard to Clonmel (Glenconnor 1901) and then to Cahir.

Patrick was educated in the local national school.

In the 1901 cenus, it states that Patrick was a Roman Catholic.

Adult Life

Patrick, like many men his age, worked as a farm labourer/servant in Cahir for the Lonergan family in Myrtlestown, Cahir.

Patrick was unmarried and had no children.

Like most young men around the area, Cotter enlisted in the Army looking for adventure.

Because his enlistment papers were destroyed during the Blitz, we don't know exactly when he joined.

It is thought that he was a full time soldier or that he was on the army reserve list.

Image- HQ of Royal Irish Regiment

Headquarters of the Royal Irish Regiment was located in Clonmel, Co.Tipperary.

From there, Cotter went to train with his regiment in England.

According to the War Diary of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment, Cotter was stationed in Colchester, England.

Image- Mock Trench in Redmires,Sheffield

Involvement in WWI

According to the medal roll of Corporal Patrick Cotter, he was involved in the war from the beginning.

He began serving on the battlefields of Europe on the 13th of August 1914. 

One of the first battles that Cotter would have encountered is the Battle of Mons.

Battle of Mons, August 1914

The Battle of Mons was the first major battle of World War One. It occurred on the 23rd of August 1914. The war was against the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the German First Army.

The BEF comprised 2 corps of infantry, I and II Corps, and a cavalry division of 85,000 men and 290 guns.

Most of the action done for the British was by II Corps comprised at around 25,000 men.nGeneral Von Kluck's 1st Army comprised 4 corps and 3 cavalry divisions (160,000 men) and 550 guns.

The British were forced to fall back due to the fall of the French Allies, leaving the Mons canal line in German hands. Heavy casualties were inflicted on the German army during the attack on British positions.

Image- Mons Star medal received by Patrick Cotter, 1914.

Battle of Ginchy France

On the 1st of July 1916, the infamous battle of the Somme was launched. Despite suffering enormous casualties, the advance continued. By early Septemeber the 16th Division German troop held the  village of Ginchy under attack.
Many Irish troops were killed attempting to take the village, including my soldier Patrick Cotter.
He died on the 3rd of September, 1916. Attacks on Leuze wood and attempts to re-take Ginchy on the 4than d 5th of September were also defeated by German counter-attacks. The village finally fell on the 9th of September, 1916 as the British advanced on the Germans on the evening of this day.

Map of location of Ginchy

Map of Ginchy battlefield used during the war.

Troops advancing to Ginchy                London times article 16/09/16

Cotter died on the battlefield and was buried in Delville Wood cemetery. It is the 3rd largest British and Commonwealth cemetery on the Somme battlefield. There are 5,523 First World War casualties buried here. Of these, 3,593 are un identified. Most of these died at the Battle of the Somme.

Delville Cemetery 

Gravestones in Delville cemetery 

Cotter's Grave

A local historian in my area went and visited Patrick Cotter's grave.

After the war, Cotter's sisters who were living in Brighton at the time received his medals.

Jesus Mercy 

All I ask of you 

Is that you remember me

At the altar of the lord

Inscription written on Patrick Cotter's grave. 

Overall I am incredibly excited for this trip and to see Patrick Cotter's grave for myself. 

His story has been truly fascinating to work on and I look forward to this trip.

I go to Presentation Secondary School in Clonmel Co.Tipperary and I've just completed Tranistion year, an exciting year full of many obstacles and great experiences, such as entering the recycled fashion competition Junk Kouture and participating in a 75 mile walk called St.Declan's Walk. 

Overall TY has been exciting, I always wanted to do Transition Year to gain more confidence and to do many different things.

When I heard about the Adopt a Soldier, I was so intrigued as I adore History, it's one of my favourite subjects. At the time when I heard about the competition, my class were doing World War One projects at the time so I decided to enter the compeition as a chance to engage more with this historical significant event.

My local village of Newcastle had just did a memorial for our fallen soldiers and I always wanted to see the World War One war sites as books such as 'Private Peaceful' and 'War Horse' 

Newcastle WW1 Memorial

Here is a picture of the WW1 memorial honouring our soldiers in my local village of Newcastle.

When I found out I was representing Tipperary for Adopt a Soldier, I was thrilled.  

Once I found out who my soldier was (Patrick Cotter) I went researching for information, with the help of my History teacher, Ms.Patterson and a local historian.

Overall with the help of my teachers and people from my local village, J gained so much information about my soldier and World War 1.

On the stone it's says:

Private John Crotty- Royal Irish Regiment

Died: 17th June 1917

Driver John Dunne- Royal Horse Artillery 

Died: 28th July 1918

Lance Corporal John Forbes- Sherwood Forester 

Died: 26th September 1916

Private John Hickey- Royal Irish Regiment 

Died: 21st March 1918

Private John Mansfield- Royal Irish Regiment

Died: 21st March 1918

Died not for Flag, nor King, nor Emperor,

But for a dream born in a herdman's shed 

And for the secret Scripture of the poor.

by Tom Kettle 'Betty' RIP
Inscription on  bottom of memorial stone