14 July 2006

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Sergeant Edward Mott,
1st Bn, Border Regiment

  • Victoria Cross
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal ( DCM )
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )

Mr Lester Watson ( 1889-1959 ), an investment banker from Boston, Massachusetts, started collecting British military medals after his uncle had given him his first one in 1904. He acquired most of his medals during the 1920s, some from US dealers, but mainly bought from the London firms of Baldwins, Spink and Seaby during his visits to Britain. Watson's collection is remarkable for its systematic representation of gallantry and campaign medals awarded to British servicemen during the period 1791 to c.1930.

Mr Hoyt Watson, the son of Lester Watson, has recently donated the whole of his father's military medal collection to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England.

Included in the medal collection is the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Conduct Medal, and 1914-15 Star, awarded to Sergeant Edward Mott, 1st Bn, The Border Regiment, for gallant action near Le Transloy in France during the First World War.

On the 9th September 1937 Edward Mott was issued with a 'replacement' Victoria Cross group, which resides in the Border Regiment Museum, after his original had either been lost or stolen. However, it is believed the VC, DCM & 1914-15 Star included in the Lester Watson Collection, and now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, is the 'original' Victoria Cross that Edward Mott was invested with by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 4th April 1917.

On the 27th January 1917 the 1st Bn, Border Regiment, in company with the 1st Royal Enniskilling Fusiliers had orders to attack a section of the enemy position south of Le Transloy, known as the Landwehr Trench. An artillery barrage of 96 eighteen-pounder guns with support from 30 Australian howitzers preceded the attack which began at 5:30 a.m. on a 750-yard front. By 7:00 a.m. 117 prisoners had been taken and the first and second objectives had been captured with light casualties. But consolidation on the flank proved difficult because of the frozen ground, enemy shelling and pernicious sniping. It was here that Edward Mott earned his Victoria Cross.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 10 March 1917 ], Near Le Transloy, France, 27 January 1917, Sergeant Edward John Mott, 1st Bn, The Border Regiment, DCM

For most conspicuous gallantry and initiative ( South of Le Transloy, France ) when, in an attack, the company to which he belonged was held up at a strong point by machine-gun fire. Although severely wounded in the eye, Serjeant 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 non-commissioned officer that the left flank attack succeeded.
Edward Mott was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 4th April 1917.

For the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal ( DCM )

[ London Gazette, 3 June 1915 ], Gallipoli, Turkey, 28 April 1915, No. 9887 Corporal Edward John Mott, 1st Bn, The Border Regiment

On 28th April 1915, during operations South of Krithia for gallant conduct in leading his company to successive fire positions, and again for conspicuous bravery and good service in attacking over difficult country.

Edward Mott died on 20th October 1967, aged 74, at his home in Witney, Oxfordshire, and was cremated at the Oxford Crematorium on 23rd October 1967. His ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance.


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Iain Stewart, 14 July 2006