TheyServed Wiki

Private Jacob Gotz was a German-born soldier of the British Army who died during the First World War.

He was born in Sobernheim on 30th June 1887, and settled in England by the early 1900s. He married Emma Smith in 1905, and at the time of the 1911 Census was working as a baker while living on Rowallan Road, London.

Gotz was posted to the 30th Battalion, The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment). The 30th was one of two labour battalions that were predominantly composed of men classified as 'enemy aliens', earning these units the disparaging sobriquet 'The Kaiser's Own'.[1] Aged 30, he was killed instantly in road accident on 13th February 1918. Jacob had cycled from Reading to Fulham for his son Henry's eighth birthday and on the return journey he met with a tragic accident which occurred on Shepherd’s Hill, Reading. Jacob was riding a bicycle behind a motor van on the near side going down hill.  He was hanging on with the right hand and changing over to the right side of the van, he tried to catch it with his left hand.  As he was passing over to the offside of the van for this purpose, he ran into a motor bus which was going up the hill, with the consequence that he became pinned between the two vehicles, his head was smashed and his neck broken. 

He is buried in Reading Cemetery. There was an impressive military funeral ground with a large body of his regiment and band of the Pioneer School of Instruction.  Comrades were pall bearers and the regiment sent a beautiful wreath. Jacob Gotz name is commemorated on the screen wall in the war plot.


  1. van Emden, Richard (2013), Meeting the Enemy: The Human Face of the Great War.


  • Gotz, Jacob, Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  • War Graves in The Old Reading Cemetery