William FRANK Cotton

Date of birth: 1895
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Royal Fusiliers
Battalion: 8th
Rank / Service No: Private, 16416
Died: 26th December 1915, aged 19 years
Buried: Bethune Town Cemetery, France (Plot IV, Row G, Grave 52)


Frank was the third of 5 siblings born to Hartley William and Emma Batchelor Cotton (nee Flood), who married in Southampton in 1883.

Hartley was born in Southampton in 1862 and died in the city on 6 June 1942. Emma was also born in the city, in 1864, and she passed away on 13 May 1907.

The family lived at 149 St. Mary’s Street in Southampton.



Emma KATHERINE   b. 1884 Southampton   d. 1956 Winchester   Married James Henry Cross in Southampton in 1909.

Rhoda Doris   b. 1888 Southampton   d. 1978 Southampton   Married George Pocock in Southampton in 1910.

William Frank 

Charles Flood   b. 1897 Southampton   d. 1963 Droxford   Married Ethel Lacey in Southampton in 1922.

Louis   b. 1903 Southampton   d. 1980 Southampton   Married Violet E. Mabee in Southampton in 1931.


The 8th Royal Fusiliers joined the 36th Brigade in the 12th (Eastern) Division and landed at Boulogne in late May 1915.

On 23 June, the division took over a section of front line near Ploegsteert Wood and they were in action at the Battle of Loos in September 1915.

The Division lost nearly 3000 men at Loos and retired behind the lines near Bethune for a rest and restaffing.


On 9 December, the Fusiliers assisted in a round-up of spies and other suspicious characters in the streets of Bethune.

On the 10th, the Division took over the front line north of La Bassee canal at Givenchy and it is probably here that Frank lost his life.


For much of the war, Bethune remained relatively free from bombardment and remained an important railway and hospital centre, as well as a Corps and Divsional HQ.

The cemetery contains 3004 Commonwealth WW1 burials.


Frank’s headstone reads: “Lips need not speak when the heart mourns sincerely.

Dad & brothers.”



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 27th June 2016


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