Driver George Botting

George Botting © findmypast.co.uk
George Botting © findmypast.co.uk
Image © Royston Williamson 2015
Image © Royston Williamson 2015

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides and Warren Jackson for the following research.

George Botting Birth Index © Ancestry.co.uk
George Botting Birth Index © Ancestry.co.uk

George Botting was born on the 3rd April 1881 at Gadbrook in Betchworth, Surrey. He was the son of Walter Botting and Harriett Haybittle.

George had nine siblings: Eliza born on the 17th of August 1877 in Brockham; Harry born on the 7th of August 1879 in Brockham; Elizabeth born on the 10th of February 1883 in Betchworth; Walter Thomas born on the 3rd of September 1884 in Betchworth and baptised on the 21st of December 1884 at St Michael’s Church, Betchworth; Annie born on the 25th of October 1886 in Betchworth; Valentine born on the 24th of February 1889 in Betchworth; Frederick born on the 29th of January 1891 in Betchworth; Charles born on the 30th of December 1892 in Dorking and baptised there on the 15th of August 1894; and Laura born on the 1st of May 1895 in Dorking and baptised there on the 30th of June 1895. Six siblings were alive by the time of the 1911 Census. The three youngest had all died of measles at Moleside in January 1896: Charles on the 20th; Laura on the 21st; and Frederick on the 23rd. They were buried on the 25th of January 1896 in Dorking.

George Botting 1891 Census © findmypast.co.uk
George Botting 1891 Census © findmypast.co.uk

At the time of the 1891 Census the Botting’s family lived at The Village in Betchworth. George’s father Walter was working as a carman.

George Botting 1901 Census © Ancestry.co.uk
George Botting 1901 Census © Ancestry.co.uk

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family lived at Moleside in Pixham, Dorking. Walter and his son Harry were working as labourers in chalk pits. Daughter Eliza was working as a housemaid and George with his brother Walter as journeymen bakers. Valentine was a student.

George Botting 1911 Census © Ancestry.co.uk
George Botting 1911 Census © Ancestry.co.uk

By the time of the 1911 Census, George had moved away from his parents who now lived alone at 12 Spring Gardens. George’s father was working as a stoker.

George himself was a boarder of thirty-seven-year-old widow Flora Robertson at 9 Hart Road, Dorking. He was working as a baker.

Later, George was working for Mr Head, a baker of Lincoln Road, Dorking. At the time of his enlistment George was working at the Hyde Park Hotel, London.

Military History

George Botting enlisted at Westminster, London. He became a driver for the ‘A’ Battery 62nd Brigade of the RFA (Royal Field Artillery). His regimental number was 901822.

George Botting Marriage Certificate © Ancestry.co.uk
George Botting Marriage Certificate © Ancestry.co.uk

On the 13th of February 1918, George Botting married, by licence, twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth Alice Lidbitter at St Nicholas Church in Great Bookham. Elizabeth was the daughter of Albert Lidbitter, a labourer. George’s occupation is stated to be an RFA bombardier. At the time of the marriage he lived at 10 Church Street, Dorking with his parents.

George Botting Death Notice © findmypast.co.uk
George Botting Death Notice © findmypast.co.uk

Before George died of wounds in France, he had been serving there for two years. On the 5th of September 1918 he was severely wounded in the chest and died in hospital on the following day, the 6th of September 1918. At this time one of George’s younger brothers, Walter, was in France with the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment and another, Valentine, was in training with the Royal Flying Corps in England.  Within days their cousin, John Botting, was killed in action at the Battle of Épehy on the 18th of September 1918.

George is buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension in France, Somme. His grave reference number is: VIII.B.17. The headstone reads: “Peace Perfect Peace – With Loved Ones Far Away”.

George Botting Soldiers Effects © Ancestry.co.uk
George Botting Soldiers Effects © Ancestry.co.uk

George’s mother Harriett received £5 of Soldiers Effects and his wife Elizabeth Alice 19s and 1d on the 28th of January 1919. At this time Elizabeth lived at Phoenice Cottage, Great Bookham, Surrey. On the 8th of December 1919 Elizabeth Alice received a further £10 and 10s.

George Botting British War Medal and Victory Medal © Ancestry.co.uk
George Botting British War Medal and Victory Medal © Ancestry.co.uk
George Botting Medal Roll Index © Ancestry.co.uk
George Botting Medal Roll Index © Ancestry.co.uk

George received the British War and Victory medals.

Betchworth Lime Works mid-1920s
Betchworth Lime Works mid-1920s

The photo above shows in the front row fourth from right Valentine Botting (George’s brother), on the far right, Valentine’s son John Botting. In the third row, fifth from left is Walter T. Botting (George’s brother).

Family History

George’s paternal great-grandparents were called John Botting (a labourer) and Elizabeth Botting nee Sadler.

John Botting was born about 1791 in Effingham, Surrey and Elizabeth about 1795 in Leigh. They were married at St. Michael’s, Betchworth on the 10th October 1815.

At the time of the 1841 Census, John was working as an agricultural labourer and lived at Gadbrook, Betchworth with his wife Elizabeth and seven children of their eight children: George’s grandfather John, Martha, Mary, George, Rebecca, Henry and Jane. Their eldest child Hannah, baptised at St Michael’s, Betchworth, on the 24th of March 1816 had moved away by this time.

The family used the surname Botten on this census.

Twenty years later in 1861 the family lived in Gadbrook and the seventy-year-old John was still working as a labourer. The children had moved away apart from twenty-six-year old Henry (a labourer); twenty-one-year-old Jane and a granddaughter Elizabeth Childs whose mother was Rebecca Childs nee Botting. On this census, the family surname is recorded as Botting.

By the time of the 1871 Census John was widowed and lived with his son Henry (an agricultural farm servant) and granddaughter Elizabeth (domestic general servant) at Gadbrook Cottage in Betchworth. The family is named in the Census as Botton.

George’s paternal grandparents were called John (a labourer) and Ann Botting nee Ives.

John Botting was born about 1818 and was baptised under the surname Botten on the 15th of November 1818 at St Michael’s Church in Betchworth. Ann was baptised there on the 2nd June 1822.

John married Ann Ives on the 21st of September 1846 at St James’ Church in Shere. John’s surname on the certificate is Botting.

At the time of the 1851 Census John and Ann had two children Edwin and George and were living in Betchworth. John was working as an agricultural labourer. The family used the surname Botten.

George’s father was called Walter Botting and was born to John and Ann on the 22nd of January 1856 in Betchworth, Surrey. Walter was baptised on the 24th of February 1856 in St Michael’s Church in Betchworth under the surname of Botten.

During the 1861 Census, five-year-old Walter lived with his parents and siblings Edwin, George, Ann, Jane and Valentine at Sheepwash Cottages in Betchworth under the name of Botten.

By the time of the 1871 Census, fifteen-year-old Walter became a boarder on a farm in Wonham, Reigate Foreign. The farm belonged to seventy-five-year-old Ann Edwards, who owned 175 acres of land. John was her indoor farm servant. Walter used the surname Botting.

George’s mother was called Harriett Haybittle and was born on the 19th of February 1854 in Betchworth to Thomas (a coachman) born about 1832 and baptised on the 15th January 1832 in Betchworth and Lucy Haybittle nee Lucas born on the 7th April 1826 and baptised on the 30th April 1826 in Merstham.

At the time of the 1871 Census, Harriett was still living with her parents at Wheelers Lane, Betchworth, but was working as a general servant.

Harriet and Walter married in the 2nd of April 1877 in Brockham, Surrey. Walter married under the surname of Botton.

The young couple, during the 1881 Census, lived with Harriett’s mother Lucy Haybittle and their children Eliza, Harry and baby George Botting (at the time unnamed) at Gadbrook Chapel, Betchworth. From then on they used the surname Botting.

Born                       Betchworth
Son of                    Walter and Harriett Botting of 10 Church Street, Dorking
Husband of            Elizabeth Alice Botting of Phoenice Cottage, Great Bookham

Enlisted                   Westminster

Regiment                 “A” Battery, 62nd Brigade. Royal Field Artillery
Number                   901822

Date of Death           6th September 1918
Place of Death         France
Cause of Death        Died of wounds

Age                           36

Cemetery                 Dernacourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France

Valentine Botting (brother of George) and Harriett Botting (his mother) © Peter Davidson
Valentine Botting (brother of George) and Harriett Botting (his mother) © Peter Davidson
Valentine Botting (brother of George) and Harriett Botting (his mother) verso © Peter Davidson
Valentine Botting (brother of George) and Harriett Botting (his mother) verso © Peter Davidson