Corporal William Cotter VC

William Reginald Cotter of the 6th Battalion, the Buffs, was awarded the VC for his bravery in World War 1. On 6th March 1916, near Hohenzollern Redoubt, France, Corporal Cotter's leg was blown off at the knee. He was also wounded in both arms. Nevertheless he made his way unaided for 50 yards to a crater where he found some private soldiers. He took command of them and controlled their fire and gave orders to alter their dispositions to meet a counter-attack. His wounds were roughly dressed and he stayed in action for two hours. When things became quieter he was able to be moved back, but only after 14 hours, during which time he remained cheerful. He remained alive for one week, dying on 14th march 1916. He was born in Folkstone in March 1883. He was blind in one eye although it is not clear how long he had been afflicted. He is buried in Lilliers Cemetery and commemorated on the War Memorial at Sandgate, Kent. This photo is of cotter taken before the war, wearing his dress uniform. The medal has been added to the photo and is too small. His Victoria Cross was gazetted on 30th March 1916, two weeks after his death so he never saw the medal.

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by Stephen Luscombe