Private George Potter

When conducting the pre-WW1 domestic research on George Potter, it became apparent that  ‘George’ was his second Christian name which, over time, became the name he was known by (particularly in Census returns and military records).

In the 3rd Quarter (Oct-Nov-Dec) of 1887 the birth of a ‘William George Potter’ was registered in Amesbury, the registration office where Tilshead births, marriages and deaths were registered; Birth register Volume 5a Page 163 refers.  This may be our George Potter.

When analysing the Tilshead Baptismal records there is a ‘William Joe Potter’ recorded as being Baptised on 11 Sep 1887 with the parents recorded as being James and Fanny Potter.  Whilst the name does not match exactly (Joe instead of George) the parents map to the Tilshead Census return detail shown below where George Potter is recorded as being James and Fanny’s son.

On the 1891 Census George is shown as living in Tilshead with father, James Potter an Agricultural Labourer (then aged 27 born 1863 died 1926) and mother, Fanny Potter (Nee Asher then aged 42 born 1849 and who died in 1909 and is buried in Tilshead). James and Fanny married 25 Nov 1883.  Also present in 1891 are sister Eliza Potter (then aged 6 born 1886) and Elizabeth A Potter( then aged 2 born 1889/90).

In 1901 the Census records the following family members as all being born and living in Tilshead:

  • James Potter   36
  • Fanny Potter   56
  • Eliza Potter     15
  • George Potter 13 (recorded as being a Teamster)
  • Annie Potter    10 born 1892
  • David James Potter    9  born 1891
  • Maria Potter    7 born 1894

The 1911 Census records that James and Fanny had 6 children 5 of which were living in 1911.  Sadly, Fanny had died in 1909 and it is assumed that Elizabeth A Potter had moved away and possibly another ‘John Potter’ (not the Grandson in the Census) who is recorded as being born circa 1889 was the child that died early.  Household Members included:           

  • James Potter   47
  • George Potter 22
  • Annie Potter    21
  • Maria Potter    17
  • John Potter     7 grandson

Service Detail

Sadly, no Service Record exists for George, but an analysis of other military records and battalion histories have confirmed the following.

23749 George Potter served with the 5th (Service) Battalion the Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire) Regiment. 

He was not awarded the 1914/15 Star so whilst he might have joined the army in 1915, he didn’t deploy overseas until after 1916. (Note: A Service Record exists for a soldier with a Wilts service number of 23713 showing he enlisted on 9th Dec 1915 and deployed in June 1916).

5th Service Battalion were part of 40th Brigade of 13th (Western) Division.

The Division and the 5th (Service) Battalion was evacuated from Cape Helles in January going to Port Said where they were reinforced with 750 men.

In February they went to Kuwait and in March 1916 to Amara via the Tigris River. They then relieved the Lahore Division south of Kut.  In April 1916 they took part in the attempt to relieve Kut and attacked the Turkish Trenches at Hannah, followed by an attack on Sanna-I-Yat. All the efforts to relive Kut failed and eventually the garrison was forced to surrender. May 1916 was spent in defensive positions after which they returned to the Amara area where they remained until the end of December when they crossed the Hai River ready to move North to Kut.  It is possible George joined the Battalion between Jun 16-Jan 17 as part of one of many reinforcement drafts.

The 5th (Service) battalion were in action in January 1917 when they assaulted the Turkish front line, one flank of which rested on the Hai River which they had crossed only a month before. They took heavy casualties as part of the buildup and during this action. It is possibly during the initial operations to clear Turkish positions south of the River that George was killed in action.

George Potter was killed in action 17th January 1917 in Mesopotamia and is buried at the AMARA WAR CEMETERY plot XVIII. D. 10.

Pension Record Card Entry

Pension Record Card

Register of Effects entry

Medal Index Card

George was entitled to the War and Victory Medals

 War Medal 
Victory Medal
Medal Index Roll Entry for War and Victory medals

George Clegg

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