|1. Memorial:||Neuve-Chapelle Memorial||Panel 22 and 23. Neuve Chappelle|
|2. Book:||The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918||Pg.132|
|3. Memorial:||The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour||32B GQS|
Awards & Titles:
Family :Name: Henry William Ross Potter
Birth Date: 5 Nov 1871
Birth Place: Delhi, Bengal, India
Baptism Date: 17 Jan 1872
Baptism Place: Delhi, Bengal, India
Father: Henry Potter
Mother: Jane Georgina Bloomfield
His father, Henry Potter, married Jane Georgina Bloomfield in Gortroe, Cork, on 8 Oct 1863.
Education & Career :
- The First World War 1914-1918, World-wide.
|Unit / Ship / Est.: 129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis|
|Action : Winter Operations 1914-1915|
23 November 1914 - 6 February 1915. As the armies of 1914 fought themselves to exhaustion they settled down by the end of the year to the realities of static trench warfare. During the winter, activity was mostly comprised of a series of small scale raids and attempts by the BEF to gain superiority over the battlefront. At the same time increasing numbers of Territorial battalions and replacements for the Regular battalions came into theatre and had to be trained and acclimatised to trench occupation. This period was further noted for the severity of the weather and the need to rapidly source and equip the troops with adequate winter and waterproof equipment, whilst improving the trench conditions. Miserable times.
Gazetted 2nd Lt. into 4th Bn. Royal Irish Regt. (R.I.R.) 26.9.1891
Promoted Lieutenant in 4th Bn. R.I.R. 27.5.1893
Transferred to a Regular Bn. R.I.R. and to be 2nd Lt. 12.12.1894
Promoted Lieutenant 9.2.1898
Promotion antedated to 12.11.1897
Seconded for service under the Colonial Office 21.2.1903
Promoted Captain 16.1.1903 [supernumerary]
Supernumerary Captain [restored to the establishment] 28.7.1904
Name correction to last notification
Reverted to Lieutenant on transfer to the Indian Army 8.9.1909 (as post #5 above)
Promotion to Captain in 120th Rajputana Infantry on transfer to the Indian Army 8.9.1909
Promoted to Major in Indian Army 12.12.1912
killed in action, Givenchy, North France, December 20, 1914;
The regimental history (The 4/10th Baluch regiment in the Great War, by W S Thatcher) has several mentions. Page 31 has this:
"... I wish to bring to notice the splendid leading of major Potter. The leading platoon ... hesitated at the edge of the sap. Major Potter seeing this dashed forward and carried them right on. During the whole day when heavily bombed and pushed he kept perfectly cool and never allowed himself to be flustered. he was in a very nasty position - cut off for 12 hours - knowing I could get no help to him and by his bearing so kept up the spirits of his men that the sap was fortified and made good" (This following an attack on a German sap on 16th December).
His death (page 34):
"Thus died Major Potter, who with many of his men was never seen again. 'He tells me Major Potter and his men resisted for some time and killed many Germans ... From his account and from what I knew of Major Potter I am sure he and most of his men fought till it was useless'" (By the CO, Col Southey).
Page 248, Appendix VIII, Part I, Recommendations in France:
Major H W R Potter
"On 30th October (1914)carried out a retirement covering the rest of the battalion and Cavalry Brigade with the greatest coolness. On the night of the 31st October, when the Germans kept a farm in his position in the outpost line, constructed a trench 50 yards away from it and kept them shut up and unable to move till reinfrrocements arrived. Recommended by Lt Colonel W M Southey. Honour or Reward - DSO" [Obviously not awarded]
On the 16th December it was decided to capture two German saps opposite the trenches of the 15th Sikhs in the neighbourhood of Givenchy, and then to extend the operation by securing a portion of the German main trenches. The troops selected for this operation were taken from the Ferozepore Brigade.
The 129th Baluchis and the 57th Rifles were ready to attack by 08.30; whilst the Connaught Rangers were detailed in support, and a territorial battalion lent by a French general on our right was held in reserve.
Major Potter with his company of129th Baluchis was quickly across the 30 yards which separated him from the left sap, and the other company under Lt C Browning also reached its objective, and both attacks pushing up the sap were soon close to the enemy main trench.
But ( and there is always a "but" in the trench operations of those days) the difficulty now presented itself as to how to reinforce them, as it was impossible to cross the open space swept by a hail of bullets which soon destroyed the wounded who had fallen in the first rush. The attackers were gradually bombed back onwards the captured sap heads. Browning and all his Indian officers were wounded and his men in the right sap got jammed in on to the sap head but held on till dusk under a heavy fire of grenades. Whilst Potter and his men in the left sap held their position with splendid determination.
A party of 15th Sikhs who had accompanied each attack were meantime working heart and soul to dig a trench back from the sap head to our main trench and the 21st Company of Sappers and Miners and a working party of the 34th Pioneers were engaged in the same process to join up with them from our own side. The right sap was more difficult of the two and before connection could be established the remnants of the men in the sap head fearing that relief would be too late made an attempt to cross the open over the 15 yards which still separated them from their comrades: the distance was short but the devastating fire which the enemy rained across it killed and wounded every man as he ran, and the Hun had his revenge in the recapture of his lost ground.
Potter in the left sap was more fortunate, the new communicating trench being completed by dark, when he and his men withdrew into our own line. His cool bearing and gallantry were never more conspicuous than on this day, and though he was missing a few days later during an attack, his name will led in the hI story of the corps'.
Citations & Commemorations :Mentioned in the despatch of Field Marshal J. D. P. French dated 5.4.1915. H. W. R. Potter is noted as 'missing'.
|Type||Lodge Name and No.||Province/District :|
|Mother :||Stewart No. 1960 E.C.||Punjab|
9th July 1908
10th September 1908
8th October 1908
The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- The (UK) National Archives
- Ancestry.co.uk - Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History online
- ugle.org.uk - The records of the United Grand Lodge of England including the Library and Museum of Freemasonry
- Founder Researchers : Paul Masters & Mike McCarthy
- Researcher : Bruce Littley
Researcher : Tom Hawley