World War I
Arthur Cottee

The Cottee family have lived in the village of Stock for at least five generations. Arthur had five sisters and seven brothers and nearly 100 years ago they lived in the Bakehouse, near the Paddocks and the Hoop Public House.
In February 1916, Arthur Cottee joined up. He joined the Army Service Corps as a private, service number 156169. He came from an old established Stock family, one that still has roots in the village today. He joined up at Chelmsford aged 19 years and 7 months. He displayed a typical physique for the time, being 5 ft 4 in tall and weighing in at 114lbs. According to his attestation papers he was physically good, so it makes you wonder how he would size up with his peers today. By trade, Arthur was a motor mechanic and so it was appropriate that he went into the motor transport section. The family business was baking, so there is a question over the response he gave when he joined up.
He left from Southampton to go war 3rd April 1916 and was attached to the 83rd Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery. He disembarked two days later in Le Havre. The 83rd was attached to the Third Army, and consisted of a 12-inch railway howitzer battery of 2 guns. Although the British Army was the most mechanised of all in the Great War, it still relied largely on horse power for the transportation of supplies, guns, ammunition and men. A total of 435 ASC Horse Transport Companies existed at some time in the war. ASC Motor Transport Depot Companies filled a variety of administrative, recruitment, induction, training and re-supply roles. Base Depots were located in the United Kingdom or at the port of entry to a theatre of war in Arthur’s case Le Havre. Advanced Depots were located further up the lines of communication.
Arthur was moved a month after being with the Siege Battery, to the ASC Repair shop, and from here he was continually on the move. On the 31st May 1917, he was confined to barracks for seven days, his charge was loitering during work hours. There is no doubt that the ASC were extremely hard worked, the war was the first chance for real mechanised actions. Inevitably machines break and re supply of units is imperative. Arthur qualified for leave 21st Sept 1917, but had to return by 1st October. For many leave was too short tog et home from France, and for some there was no leave.
When he returned he moved from unit to unit in repair shops and at one stage was attached to the Second Army signal company Royal Engineers. He had a varied war experience in the two years he was in France, and it is often forgotten that the ASC, or Ally Slopers Cavalry was a huge army in itself with well over 400,000 men, with an extremely high casualty rate.
In the end Arthur made it back from the war and lived into his 80s. When he came back he went into baking until the 1950s and then moved to out of the village. He played cricket for Stock and one story that went round about him was, that on match days he would begin his bread round, play cricket and then resume it afterwards!
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