|Date of Birth||October 17, 1897|
|Place of Birth||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||Alexander Cotter, father, Wilkie PO, Saskatchewan|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||34th Fort Garry Horse|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||Wilkie, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||May 18, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||20|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 9, 1983|
|Age at Death||86|
|Buried At||Oak Hill Memorial Park, Escondido, San Diego County, California|
Charles Rogerson Cotter was born on 17 October 1897 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His father Alexander McCaul Cotter was born in Austria, the son of an Irish Reverend and his wife. An age appropriate Alex Cotter arrived in Canada on the Circassian on 29 April 1889, on his way to Winnipeg. By the time of the 1891 Canada census, along with his brother Joseph Henry who was born in Italy, Alexander was farming in the outskirts of Winnipeg. Charles’ mother Mildred Evelyn Bertha Edwards was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in England, immigrating to Canada at some point after the 1891 England census. Alexander and Mildred married on 8 August 1896 in Winnipeg.
By 1900 Alexander and Mildred had relocated to the Sultana Mine on Lake of the Woods near Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario, giving birth to son Alexander Felix that year. In 1902 the family travelled to England via New York, arriving in Liverpool aboard the Oceanic on 4 June on their way to London. Returning, they arrived in Boston on the Commonwealth on 5 September 1902. Alexander’s occupation was given as assayer on the passenger list. Although their destination was given as Winnipeg, the family returned to Rat Portage. Other children born in Rat Portage were Lillian Kate (1903), and Florence Mildred (1906). At the time of Florence’s birth Alexander was working as a plumber. By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved to Saskatchewan to farm in the area between Wilkie and North Battleford. Children born in Saskatchewan were Louis Stephen (Pat) in 1913 and twins David Grenfell and Lloyd George in 1916.
With the onset of conscription in the latter part of the war, Charles was called up for service on 16 May 1918 in Winnipeg. His occupation was given as farmer and his father Alexander, Wilkie PO in Saskatchewan as next of kin. Charles was assigned to the 34th Fort Garry Horse Depot Squadron. With the 66th Draft to the Canadian Reserve Cavalry Regiment, Charles arrived in England aboard the Thongwa on 22 July 1918. On 1 November he was struck off strength on proceeding overseas to the Fort Garry Horse, arriving in France on the 2nd and joining the unit a few days after the Armistice. After the war ended the FGH were required to perform garrison duty in Belgium. Spare time was spent in regimental sports, cleaning and turning in equipment. On 18 April 1919 all ranks returned to England and embarked for Canada on the Carmania on 21 May 1919. Charles was discharged from service on demobilization on 2 June 1919 in Winnipeg, rank of Trooper.
Returning to the Wilkie area, at the time of the 1921 census Charles was listed as living with his family and working as a labourer. In December 1925 he moved to the States, arriving in Seattle on the Princess Alice on the 10th. His border crossing record indicated that he had previously lived in the States (California) from 1920 to 1924. By the 1930 US census Charles was living in Los Angeles and working as a welder at a boiler works.
On 8 August 1934, in Yuma, Arizona, Charles married Isabella Melissa Young. Born on 20 February 1889 in Bothwell, Ontario, Isabella was the daughter of Nelson Young and Isabella Devlin. Her parents had married in 1871 in Middlesex, Ontario and by 1910 were living in Detroit, Michigan. Over the years her father had worked as a photographer, painter, and decorator. In 1939 Charles signed his declaration of intent for becoming a US citizen, occupation at the time given as novelty dealer in Hollywood, California. For the 1940 census Charles was working as a mechanic and Isabella as manager of their rooming house. It is not know if the couple had any children.
During WW2 Charles’ brothers David and Lloyd enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Sadly, David, rank of Pilot Officer, died on 13 January 1945 as the result of wounds sustained during air operations in India. He is interred in the Taukkyan War Cemetery outside Yangon (formerly Rangoon, Burma).
Charles’ wife Isabella died on 4 September 1963 in Los Angeles and is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. In 1970 Charles married his brother Lloyd George’s widow, Iris May (née Webb) Cotter. Born on 18 July 1920 in Manitoba, Iris was the daughter of Leonard Webb and Agnes Ramsay, the couple marrying in 1913 in Winnipeg. Her family farmed in the Rosser area of Manitoba. Lloyd had died suddenly in Stonewall, Manitoba on 8 November 1968, leaving behind his widow Iris and twin son and daughter Burney and Bonnie.
Charles and Iris were to make Escondido, San Diego County their home where Charles died on 9 October 1983. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Iris and her two children in British Columbia, his siblings Felix in Vancouver (d 1984), Lillian Kate Bowers in Edmonton (d 1984), and Florence Mildred (William) Shury in the Wilkie area (d 2002). He was predeceased by his mother Mildred in 1925 and father Alexander in 1929, both interred in the Wilkie Cemetery, and brothers David and Lloyd. Iris later died on 14 January 2014 in Escondido. It appears that her remains were returned to Canada, the Woodlawn Mt Cheam Funeral Home in Chilliwack, British Columbia in charge of the arrangements. Charles is interred in the Oak Hill Memorial Park Cemetery in Escondido.
By Judy Stockham
Grave marker photograph by Mona Williamson, findagrave.com.