George Mote was born August 25, 1888 in the north London suburban town of Islington, Middlesex. (interestedly, a few short miles from the residence of our next profile in Grandpa's picture, Corporal John Newton #426149 in West Ealing, Middlesex and not far from my daughter's residence near RAF Northwood). Son of Arthur Charles and Norah McNamara, after serving in the 1st Middlesex Regiment, George immigrated to Toronto, Canada with his younger brother Edward Mote #192903 in 1908 in search of that old cliché, steady work. Edward found employment as an electrician and George went to work with the T. Eaton Co. as a "corset cutter". He apparently had a "girl friend", Miss. Annie Smith, 784 Queen St. East, Toronto. However, his next of kin and assigned pay were sent to his father, living at 62 Chatterton Road, Finsbury Park, London. Both men joined the 2nd Regiment Queen's Own Rifles in 1913. George followed the QOR's contingent to Valcartier when the war was declared in August, 1914 and was enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force as Sergeant George Mote, service number 9389, CEF. He continued to follow the 3rd Battalion to their training camp on the Salisbury Plains, Camp Bustard, being promoted to platoon Sergeant in Company "B". I have not ordered the service record of Edward Mote.
|C.S.M. George A. Mote #9389|
After the battalion was substantially reinforced in early May, with over 200 men including my grandfather, John Cody, from the 23rd Battalion, The "Dirty Third" again took to battle on May 18 at Festubert. Along with the remainder of 1st Brigade, in a reserve position, they cleaned up operations after the 2nd and 3rd Brigades ran into trouble in an ill-timed and ill-planned attack, on May 24 at "the Orchard". For actions in this battle Sergeant George Mote was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Conduct Medal with the following citation from the London Gazette:
|Highgate Cemetery, London|
The officer in question is Lieutenant Reginald N.C. Craig and the N.C.O. is believe to have been Private Benjamin Irons #10135. Both bodies were not recovered and both names are inscribed on the Vimy Memorial. My grandfather described the Battle of Festubert as the most intense of the several, he took part in.
November 11, 1915, Sergeant Mote was promoted to the rank of Acting Company Sergeant Major, "B" Company and thereafter granted 9 days leave from February 2, 1916. I believe he received his D.C.M. during this leave, from King Edward. On return his service was uninterrupted at the front lines with the 3rd Battalion save for a week attached to the Divisional Grenade School.
However George's luck ran out on June 3, 1916 at Hill 60 in the Ypres battlefield, Belgium.
CSM Mote was in the rear of the leading platoon, "B" Company on the way as reinforcements when a shell burst behind him. He received shot wounds to right shoulder right ankle with an intact shrapnel shell penetrating his spine. He was knocked down, not unconscious, was unable to move his legsGeorge Mote remained paralysed until his death. He died at Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital in Taplow on February 6, 1917 after months of excruciating pain and paralysis. He is buried in a beautiful,serene plot with three military comrades in London's famous Highgate Cemetery.
CSM George Mote middle row centre
Very interesting that even though only four of the 315 soldiers buried in Highgate Cemetery, London, have Canadian affiliation, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has chosen the serene grave of George Mote (and his four resting companions)to illustrate on their web profile of the cemetery.
Company Sergeant Major George A Mote was replaced on the battlefield by Company Sergeant Major Frank W. Knight #9459,MM and the next friend from Grandpa Cody's photograph we will profile.
Thanks to Nigel Hillen and Marika Pirie for permission to use their photos. Also thanks to my friends on the CEF Study Group Forum for their assistance in assembling this profile.