All text and images © Helvellyn Consulting 2021
Albert Watson Rothery was born 1882 in Patterdale. His grandparents farmed at Braesteads farm, and his father Moses at Side Farm in Patterdale. He attended Patterdale School and trained as an apprentice plumber before departing in 1907 to join the Shanghai Water Works Company.
On the outbreak of war he returned home and joined the 10th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment in December 1914. He was promoted to Lance Corporal and then joined the Machine Gun Corps. He was again promoted to Sergeant, winning the Military Medal for his actions at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. He recommended for a commission and entered Office Cadet School in July 1917, being commissioned into the Tank Corps in December 1917. In August 1918 he won the Military Cross. His citation reads
On 8th August, 1918, during operations east of Amiens, in spite of a thick mist, by personally guiding his Tank, he maintained his direction and proved of great assistance to the infantry. He also, when other Tanks were out of action, went forward alone and tackled and destroyed machine-
On the 28th December 1918 the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald noted that he was the first “old boy” of Patterdale School to win the Military medal and only one to win the Military Cross. After the war Albert returned to the Shanghai Water Works until his retirement in 1934 with his wife Mary, whom he married in London in March 1915. After his retirement he returned to Cumbria, settling in Carlisle where he remained until his death in 1952 aged 70.
He is commemorated on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour and his name has a cross against it, which usually signifies someone who died in the war, even though Albert survived. His son Raymond was born in Shanghai served in the British Army in India and Burma during WW2 and later in the Korean War. After Korea he joined the Canadian Army and emigrated to Canada. At the time of Albert’s death Raymond’s address was given as his parents address in Carlisle. It was here that he married Alison Cameron. They emigrated to Canada in 1954 and settled in Ottawa. We’re very grateful to Raymond’s son for this information.
2nd Lieutenant Albert Rothery MC MM
Yorkshire Regiment, Machine Gun Corps, 2nd Battalion Tank Corps
Born Patterdale in 1882, Died November 1952 in Carlisle Aged 70.
Son of Moses and Mary (nee Watson) Rothery, Braysteads and Side Farm Patterdale
Husband of Mary Hannah Rothery and Father of Raymond Henry Rothery born Shanghai, and later of Ottawa Canada
C&W Herald Story on Albert’s MC 28/12/18
An article from the Shanghai Times in 1918 with an account by Albert of his experience winning the MC
The Rothery Family Memorial in Patterdale Churchyard. There are numerous Rothery graves just inside the Churchyard entrance. This one includes Albert’s Mother and Father.
Albert’s Medal Citations and his address in Shanghai
An article from the Shanghai Times in 1934 giving details of his retirement
The announcement of Albert’s death in 1952
We’d like to express our thanks to Professor Robert Bickers of Bristol University for his assistance in providing much of the material on Albert Rothery which he discovered whilst researching the volunteers from Shanghai who joined the Yorkshire Regiment.
A photo of the children at Patterdale School in 1889, kindly given to us by the family of Dawson Bowman, which probably includes Albert and also William Harker, who was born in the same year as Albert and lived just down the road. We have tried to identify as many of them as possible on our Patterdale School Then and Now page.