CWG: Private Bertram Coates

Private Bertram Coates

Bertram Noel Coates was born in the sleepy Somerset village of Walton-in-Gordano in the spring of 1890. He was the middle of three children to Herbert and Florence Coates. Herbert was a solicitor, and clerical work seemed to have been in the Coates blood.

While he did not follow in his father’s exact footsteps, by the time of the 1911 census, Bertram had found work as a bank clerk, and was boarding with his employer, James Barry, in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire.

Bertram was obviously made very welcome in Chipping Sodbury, as, on 27th May 1914, he married his employer’s daughter, Mary Barry. The couple would go on to have a daughter – Eileen – who was born in February 1916.

By the time of his wedding, Bertram had moved to London, and was working as a bank clerk in South Woodford, so was obviously showing an ambitious streak.

War was beckoning, however, and in December 1915, Bertram enlisted. Placed in the Army Reserve, he was finally mobilised in January 1917, and assigned to the 28th Battalion of the London Regiment, which was also known as the Artists Rifles.

Tragically, Private Coates’ military service was to be a short one. While training, he contracted measles, which turned septic with additional complications. He sadly passed away on 31st March 1917, less than three months after being mobilised. He was just 27 years old.

Bertram Noel Coates was brought back to Somerset. He lies at peace in the churchyard of St Mary’s in Walton Clevedon, near his parents’ home in Somerset.


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