Profile

BURDON, Cotsford Carlton
(Service number )

Aliases Known as Coty
First Rank 2nd Lieutenant Last Rank Lieutenant

Birth

Date 1 July 1893 Place of Birth Braxton, West Virginia, USA

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment
Occupation Student
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin
Religion
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with Imperial Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation King's Royal Rifle Corps
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Date
Transport
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns
Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date

Discharge

Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Farmer

Death

Date 2 November 1977 Age 84 years
Place of Death Timaru
Cause
Notices
Memorial or Cemetery Arundel Cemetery
Memorial Reference General Section, Row 21, Plot 27
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Cotsford Carlton Burdon, known as Coty, was the eldest of the three sons of Cotsford Matthews and Mildred (née Yatman) Burdon. While his parents had married in 1892 in England, young Cotsford was born at Braxton, West Virgina, USA, on 1 July 1893. Mr and Mrs C. M. Burdon and three-year old Master C. Burdon arrived at Liverpool, England, from New York, USA, on 20 March 1896. In 1901, the Burdon brothers – Cotsford, 7 years, Randal, 4 years, and George, 9 months – were at Hill Grove Farm, Lurgashall, Essex, England, in the care of the family governess. Cotsford and Randal were pupils. The family came from England to New Zealand in 1902 and immediately settled at Woodbury, where Mr Burdon farmed “Parkhurst”. Cotsford attended Christ’s College in Christchurch from 1905 till 1906, then going to England for further education. There he won a history scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford. World War I, unfortunately, interrupted his academic career. In about 1916 he gained a commission in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, serving initially as a 2nd Lieutenant and from 1918 as Lieutenant. Cotsford served with the British Salonika forces, as is evidenced in his article published in the Evening Star in January 1918. The article is headed “The Slaying of von Tirpitz or a Day’s Fishing in the Balkans”.

On his return to New Zealand after the war, Cotsford took up farming. He bought Mount Potts, a high country station in the Rangitata Gorge. After his marriage, he built his home “Capricorns”, near the Orari Bridge. He played tennis and cricket and contributed to many district causes. His love of history remained with him. He wrote a number of newspaper articles and book reviews, and published a biography, as well as dabbling in radio broadcasting.

Mr Cotsford Burdon, 60th Rifles, attended his brother Randal at his wedding in 1920 at Woodbury. Both Lieutenant Cotsford Burdon and Lieutenant Randal Burdon were in uniform. On the first Saturday of October 1934, at “Parkhurst” Woodbury, Geraldine, Mrs Burdon gave a musical At Home for Mr Frederic Page, the young New Zealander whose composition, “Music for the Eve of Palm Sunday,” had been warmly praised by Mr Percy M. Buck and other eminent authorities in England, where Mr Page hoped to continue his musical studies in the future. Among the guests were Mr Cotsford Burdon and Captain Randall Burdon. Both Cotsford Burdon (Geraldine) and Randal Burdon (Timaru) were at the wedding of their brother, George Lyon Burdon, to Fanny Peake at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin, in September 1936.

Cotsford Burdon married Ruth Mildred Barker, of “Rocky Ridges”, Geraldine, on 27 January 1937 at St Thomas’s Church, Woodbury. “A delightful time was spent by friends of Mr and Mrs Cotsford Burdon at a dance given after their wedding on Wednesday, by Messrs E. and D. Barker (brothers of the bride) and Captain R. Burdon and Mr G. Burdon (brothers of the bridegroom). The dance was held in the Woodbury Hall, which was tastefully decorated for the occasion, and the lively music added to the happy spirit prevailing.” The guests included Mr and Mrs G. Burdon, Mr and Mrs L. E. Williams [returned serviceman], Commander and Mrs G. H. Dennistoun, Colonel and Mrs R. B. Neill, Mr and Mrs H. Sinclair Thomson, Misses Eleanor Denniston, Josephine Neill, J. Dennistoun, Captain R. M. Burdon.

C.C. Burdon again held the rank of Lieutenant during the Second World War. In 1944 Mr C.C. Burdon was chairman of the Orari Bridge School Committee. He was chairman of both the Orari Bridge Patriotic Committee and the School Committee when the children of the district were entertained by both committees in September 1945. Mr Cotsford Carlton Burdon of “Capricorns”, Orari Bridge, Geraldine, held a half-ticket bought at Geraldine which won £10,000 in a Tasmanian consultation on the Melbourne Cup in November 1945. “If your readers want to know what it feels like to be a winner, I will write a column on it,” said Mr Burdon last evening when a reporter called him by telephone. “It is a wonderful feeling, with all inhibitions gone. Byron awoke to find himself famous; Burdon has awakened to find himself wealthy, he continued. “How am I going to spend the money? - All I have done so far is to buy a new pair of socks.”

Cotsford died on 4 November 1977 at Timaru, aged 84. He was buried at Arundel Cemetery, his wife with him nearly 24 years later. He was survived by his wife, Ruth, three sons and two daughters. One of those sons, Philip Burdon, was a Member of Parliament from 1981 untill 1996. Cotsford Carlton Burdon’s name is recorded on the Christ’s College Roll of Honour.

Both Mr and Mrs Burdon of Woodbury contributed with time and money to the war effort. His father died at his residence, Parkhurst, Woodbury, on 3 January 1920. He had been suffering health-wise for a long time and had been under medical treatment. He was found dead in the plantation, with a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head. Later in 1920, Mrs Burdon and their youngest son (George Lyon Burdon) went Home. They intended spending about a year in the Old Country and, by the mail received in September, were about to leave Guildford (England) for Scotland.

‘On Sunday a special service was held in the Pleasant Valley Church, when the vicar of Geraldine, the Rev. H. Purches, dedicated a lectern, a prayer desk, .and sanctuary chair, the lectern having a brass plate bearing the words “To the Glory of God and in memory of Cotsford Matthew Burdon —Ex umbra in solem,” all being the gift of Mrs C. M. Burdon, who, with her son, Mr George Burdon, were among the worshippers. The lectern, which is of dark oak, represents an angel with wings holding a book. It is very beautiful, and is the work of Mr Guernsey, of the Christchurch School of Art. There was a very large congregation, and the vicar preached an impressive sermon from the text, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Mrs R. T. Sercombe was at the organ.’ [Press, 19 January 1922.] The newly built part of St Thomas’s Anglican Church at Woodbury was dedicated in June 1926. Memorial windows were to be erected by Mrs C. M. Burdon. Mrs Burdon was also an organist at this church. In 1930 Mrs C. M. Burdon travelled extensively through Europe. Mrs C. M. Burdon died on 26 August 1938 at her residence, “Parkhurst”, Woodbury, after a very active life in church and community affairs.

Sources

Timaru Herald, 21 June 1915, 6 January 1920, 24 November 1936, 7, 28 & 29 January 1937, 27 & 29 August 1938, 12 September 1945, Evening Star, 17 January 1918, Temuka Leader, 6 January 1920, Press, 10 April 1920, 19 January 1922, 1 July 1926, 4 October 1934, 27 January 1937, 27 August 1938, Otago Witness, 13 April 1920, Sun, 29 September 1920, Otago Daily Times, 24 September 1936, Ashburton Guardian, 15 November 1945 (Papers Past) [22 January 2022]; Christ’s College School List & Old Boy’s Register [22 January 2022]; UK British Army Lists (ancestry.com.au) [22 January 2022]; Arundel Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [22 January 2022]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [22 November 2022]; cutting from unnamed newspaper dated November 1977 (Google search) [22 January 2022]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

TS

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