b. 30/03/1914 Stepney, London. d. 12/01/1983 Thurrock, Essex
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 25/12/1937 Haifa, Palestine.
Joseph Edward Mott (1914-1983), known as Joe, was born on 30th March 1914 in Stepney, London, the son of Joseph Robert and Ada Mott (nee Champ). Joseph senior worked as a postman in the East End of London. Joseph junior was educated at Stevens Street School in Becontree.
Joe decided at the age of 16 to enlist in the Army, initially enlisting in the 4th Battalion (TA), Essex Regiment. He found that Army life was enjoyable and for him, and chose to sign on as a Regular for 7 years on 18th January 1932. He then served in both the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Essex Regiment, firstly in India, then in Egypt and Palestine.
On Christmas Day 1937, Joe was celebrating the festive season with many of his comrades in the Jordania Café, Haifa, when a bomb was thrown into the building. The café was packed with civilians and soldiers alike. The bomb landed at the feet of Private Mott; with the utmost coolness, he picked it up and hurled it through the window into the empty street, where it exploded with great force. He undoubtedly saved the lives of many people with his action.
On 25th February 1938, Joseph was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal of the Military Division for his actions. In March 1939, after his 7 years were completed, he was placed on the Reserve List, only to be recalled less than six months later, on the outbreak of World War II. He served throughout the war, mostly in Burma. He was finally discharged to the Z Reserve on 15th February 1946.
Little is known about Joe’s post-Army life, except that he returned to civilian life and settled in Essex. He died on 12th January 1983 in Basildon, Essex and was cremated at South Essex Crematorium, where his ashes were scattered on Lawn 28, Area 4. Joe’s medals including his GC (his EGM was exchanged automatically after creation of GC in 1940), General Service Medal 1918-62 with clasp “Palestine” and Mentioned in Despatches, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, QEII Coronation Medal 1953 and QEII Silver Jubilee Medal 1977 were originally on loan to the Essex Regiment Museum in Chelmsford, before being sold at auction in March 2015 to a private buyer for £15,000.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: SOUTH ESSEX CREMATORIUM, UPMINSTER, ESSEX.