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William Percy Cottrell

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Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    William Percy AWMM
  • Surname
    Cottrell AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    36190 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    8 May 1916 AWMM DannevirkeManawatu-Wanganui AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    • WW2 Pre 1940-1941 AWMM 11 McFarlane St., Wellington AWMM
    • Jayforce Pre 1946-1948 AWMM 11 McFarlane St., Wellington AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • WW2 Mrs. W.E. Cottrell, care of Post-office, Hamilton (mother) AWMM
    • Jayforce Mrs. W.E. Cottrell, P.O., Hamilton (m) AWMM
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Medal (MM) AWMM
    17 June 1943 AWMM
    'On the night of 21-22 March 1943, during an attack in the EL HAMMA GAP, Tunisia, Corporal Cottrell was working with his section clearing a lane through an enemy minefield some 300 yards in depth. As soon as it became evident that the field was densely sown with anti-personnel and S mines, Corporal Cottrell, well knowing the danger involved, took over from the leading tape men and himself went forward and completed the laying of the tapes for the guidance of the detectors. It was largely due to his fearlessness that the work proceeded without hindrance or delay. Throughout the night, among the s mines and under enemy machine-gun fire, he displayed outstanding courage and was an inspiration to all.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Cottrell, William Percy. (Ref. WO 373/25/215). Military Medal. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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Embarkations

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Funeral service held at Chapel of Newberry's Funeral Home, Whangarei, followed by private cremation.

    Lance Sergeant W. P. Cottrell, MM; Whangarei; born NZ 8 May 1916; metalworker's assistant; wounded 22 Jul 1942. (Source: Cody, J.F. NZ Engineers, Middle East. p.431.)

    'One of the undulations referred to rose to a sharp peak (Point 180) and the traffic flowed around each side where the going was not too steep. Point 180 was the infantry start line, and the engineers parked their trucks in the lee of the peak and waited for the barrage, which opened with a roaring crash.

    There was a good moon as the sappers put the gap-clearing drill into operation, one party on each side of the inter-battalion axis and about a quarter of a mile apart. The field, about 400 yards in depth, was exceedingly dangerous because the mines were laid in knee-high barley, tall grass and shrubs, and visual searching had to give place to bayonet prodding. Detectors, owing to the distance they had to be held from the ground, were of little use. Sergeant Ross and Corporal Cottrell were awarded MMs for their courageous leadership and example that night. Lieutenant Pickmere, also decorated with the MC for, among other things, moving ahead of his sappers in search of S-mines, rather writes down a very tradesmanlike job of minelifting:

    ‘Much shouting from our boys in unmistakable NZ invective as well as the cries of the Ities: tracer bullets down both our flanks and then right through us, so we went to ground and it certainly rained lead for 15 to 20 minutes. It was ricochetting all around us and tearing into the grass alongside us—cutting pieces off bushes. It seemed inevitable that many men must be hit but nobody called out until about five minutes, when Stan over on my right called out Man hit. I went over to him and asked who was hit and he said quite simply, Me. I looked where a bullet had gone into his shoulder and then called for the RAP man—a new man who was having his first taste of war and he was very dickey of moving around; but once he got up and had a job to do he seemed as right as rain. Bandaged Stan up and then he eventually walked himself out—not badly hurt; and that was our only casualty.’' (Source: Cody, J.F. NZ Engineers, Middle East. p. 431.) AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
    6 August 1999 AWMM
    Age 83 AWMM
    WhangareiNorthland AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    NZ Herald 9 August 1999 AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
    • 'The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East.' (London Gazette, 17 June 1943, p.2762.). Military Medal.
      http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36057/supplements/2762
      Further Reference
    • 'On the night of 21-22 March 1943, during an attack in the EL HAMMA GAP, Tunisia, Corporal Cottrell was working with his section clearing a lane through an enemy minefield some 300 yards in depth. As soon as it became evident that the field was densely sown with anti-personnel and S mines, Corporal Cottrell, well knowing the danger involved, took over from the leading tape men and himself went forward and completed the laying of the tapes for the guidance of the detectors. It was largely due to his fearlessness that the work proceeded without hindrance or delay. Throughout the night, among the s mines and under enemy machine-gun fire, he displayed outstanding courage and was an inspiration to all.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Cottrell, William Percy. (Ref. WO 373/25/215). Military Medal.
      http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7361434
      Further Reference
  • References
    • Cody, J.F. (1961). New Zealand Engineers, Middle East. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      p.431. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.101 AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1950). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 16 (Embarkations from 1st January, 1946 to 30th June, 1948). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.28 AWMM

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