CAPT. R.J.C. OTTER
Location: St Peter’s Church, Clayworth, Nottinghamshire, DN22 9AB
Details on cross:
IN MEMORY OF
CAPT. R.J.C. OTTER
Text type (e.g. hand-written, GRU tags, carved): 1 x GRU tag. Otherwise hand-painted
Cross dimensions (millimetres please)
Shaft Height: 1091
Cross beam width: 586
Width of wood: 124
Thickness or depth: 72
Mounting to wall: There are angle brackets where this was previously mounted to the wall, however at the date of the visit it was freestanding.
Evidence of use in field (earth marking, cracking, staining, shrinkage): There are various holes and damage. The back of one of the cross beams appears to have been splintered off. Whether this occurred in the field is uncertain.
Surface insertion depth (into ground if apparent):
Finish (varnish, paint, oiled, unfinished etc): White/grey painted wood
Condition (cracked, paint peeling, woodwork, damage etc): As above some holes, top of shaft is a bit splintered, paint in reasonable condition.
Other information, notes and observations:
As noted above the cross has angle brackets attached. On arrival the cross could not be immediately seen. Eventually, on looking through the keyhole of the locked vestry it was seen to be tucked away between a filing cabinet and a radiator. After a little detective work we managed to track down the church warden who kindly opened up the vestry for us to record the cross. The cross originally was positioned on the wall with the other Otter family memorials but that area had recently been refurbished and no suitable position for the cross had yet been found. The church warden indicated that it was intended to re mount the cross at some point.
The chancel of the church is beautifully decorated with what are known as the Traquair Murals. These are described as the largest work of art in the East of England and were created by the artist Phoebe Anna Traquair in the early 1900s. They were restored for the millennium and cover all four walls of the church.
Captain Robert John Charles Otter came from a military family and one of his ancestors was Bishop Otter (first principle of King’s College London and later Bishop of Chichester) The family home was Royston Manor in Clayworth. He was educated at Charterhouse from 1894 to 1898.
In 1901 Robert was already a second lieutenant in 2 Batt Norfolk Regiment (his mother’s family was from Norfolk), he was promoted to lieutenant on 22 January 1904 and by 1911 was a captain serving in India/Ceylon. He is also known to have served as a signalling officer and been wounded in the South African War.
His two brothers both served in the forces. Henry joined the Royal Navy and in December was accidentally and fatally shot in the head whilst practicing target shooting with a revolver. Robin followed Robert into the Norfolk Regiment.
In May 1914 he was engaged to Gwendoline Ethel Berners of Norwich and they were married at the end of July 1914. She gave birth to a daughter on 31 May 1915.
Captain Otter died on 15 February 1915. He had been on sick leave and only returned to the trenches just before he was killed.
He is buried in Danoutre Churchyard – Plot 2 Row B Grave 2. “A gallant Englishman and a good sportsman”.
He is commemorated by a plaque in the church and is also named on the roll of honour. He is also named in Wath-on-Dearne Parish Church as one of those to whom the East Window is dedicated.
Captain Otter’s name was read out in the Roll of Honour at the Tower of London on 2 November 2014.
CWGC Record weblink
The Carthusian (Magazine of Charterhouse School) July 1915 Page 480
Nottinghamshire Roll of Honour http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/rollofhonour/People/Details/5869
Sheffield Daily Telegraph 16 May 1914 & 19 February 1915
The Globe 30 July 1914
The Sphere 6 March 1915
Charterhouse War Memorial website http://charterhousewarmemorial.org.uk/RollofHonour.aspx?RecID=477&TableName=ta_factfile
Survey and photographs courtesy of Janet & Mark Ratcliff
Date of survey: 19 August 2017