Franklin Walter Ott was born in Brantford on 1 August 1893, the son of Charles A. Ott, an accountant, and his wife, Emma Maude Plummer. Charles Ott died on 12 July 1895 in Brantford when Franklin was but two years old, and his mother remarried Charles Elliott, a barrister and Librarian of the Law Society, Osgoode Hall, on 29 June 1904. The family moved to Port Credit where they appear in the 1911 Census. Franklin attended Parkdale Collegiate before entering the University of Toronto School where he was prominent in athletics, according to a brief obituary in the Toronto Star of 20 September 1918.
Franklin enlisted on 17 March 1915 in Ottawa. At that time he listed his mother as next of kin and his occupation as student. He had served as cadet captain and lieutenant in the Home Guard. His regimental number was 89147 and he was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, with fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He had an appendectomy scar. He went overseas with other University students with the 25th Battery Canadian Field Artillery in June 1915. He returned to Canada in December 1915 to visit his mother before her death.
On 10 April 1916 he filled out a further attestation form at Brampton, Ontario, as an officer in the 126th Peel Overseas Battalion (6th Regiment) in which he indicated he had spent eleven months with the 25th Battery Canadian Field Artillery. He gave his occupation as law student and his next of kin as his step-father, Charles Elliott. He was transferred as a Lieutenant to the 116th Battalion.
The 116th Infantry Battalion (Uxbridge, Ontario) was organized on 22 December 1915 with a strength of 943 men. The War Diaries show that the 116th Battalion replaced the 60th Battalion during the spring offensive in 1917. Both battalions were at Vimy in April 1917.
According to the War Diary of the 116th Battalion, the unit launched its offensive against the Germans at Hill 70 on 23 July 1917. Lieutenant Franklin Ott led No. 1 Platoon which was heavily shelled at the Avion Trench, losing five casualties.
Franklin was promoted to captain on 18 March 1918. In August, after the Battle of Amiens, the 116th Battalion were ordered to capture Boiry-Notre-Dame, Artillery Hill and two woods known as Bois du Sart and Bois du Vert. On 17 September, while the battalion was resting near Guemappe, German artillery started firing and Franklin, along with another captain, was killed by a shell. He was buried the following day at Monchy British Cemetery, near Monchy-Le-Preux, Pas-de-Calais, France.
Monchy British Cemetery
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The London Gazette announced that Franklin had won the Military Cross on 11 January 1919. It was awarded for exemplary gallantry as “he, when in charge of a company during an advance, showed the greatest skill and courage in handling his men. He organized bombing parties, and led them against enemy posts, capturing prisoners and two machine guns. During the enemy counterattack he collected eight men, repulsed several attacks, showing a great example to his men and being the last to leave when the post was forced against very heavy odds to retire. He again organized a party and retook the post. He showed great initiative in consolidating and holding the position against all counter-attacks.”
Franklin Ott is commemorated on a stone in Trinity Anglican Cemetery, Port Credit.