E. A. Potts
Second Lieutenant, Royal Fusiliers, 24th Bn. attd. 10th Bn.
Died of wounds on 15 October 1918, aged 26
CWGC: “Son of Edward and Emma Potts, of 9, Mordaunt St., Brixton, London.”
Remembered at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen
Ernest Alexander Potts, the son of a police constable and a former railwayman, volunteered for the Coldstream Guards in September 1914 and was sent to the Western Front later that year. He fought at the Battles of Ypres, Arras, Le Bassée and Givenchy. He was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field during heavy fighting on the Somme in 1918. Potts rose to Lance Serjeant and in early 1918, was discharged to join the Royal Fusiliers on a temporary commission. Severely wounded on 8 October, he died a week later.
At 6 feet 3 inches, Potts was the tallest man I have been able to acquire vital statistics for, but he was slender rather than sturdy – weighing just over 11 stone and with only a 36½-inch chest. He was pale-complected, with blue eyes and brown hair.
Potts suffered from eczema and he was hospitalised several times. In early 1917, he was admitted to the Bethnal Green Military Hospital at Cambridge Heath, for which he was treated with a staphylococcal vaccine. In addition, he suffered from impetigo of the scalp, myalgia and a bout of flu.
National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918
POTTS, E. A. (M.C.), 2nd Lieutenant, 10th Royal Fusiliers and Coldstream Guards
Volunteering in September 1914, he was sent to the Western Front later in that year. During his service overseas he fought at the Battles of Ypres, Arras, Le Bassee, Givenchy, and many other engagements of note. He was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field during heavy fighting on the Somme in 1918. He was severely wounded on October 8th, 1918, and subsequently died from the effects of his injuries on October 15th. He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, and the General Sevice and Victory Medals.
“A valiant soldier, with undaunted heart he breasted Life’s last hill.”
9, Mordaunt Street, Landor Road, S.W.9.
Information from the 1911 census
Ernest Alexander Potts was one of four children of Edward Alexander Potts, 56, born in Gateshead, County Durham, a police pensioner now working as a watchman at the Bon Marche, Brixton, and Emma Potts, 55, of Kennington. Ernest, 18, was a railway employee, as was his brother Edward William Potts, 20. His elder sisters worked too: Violet Mary Potts, 25, was a cashier in a restaurant, and Annie Elizabeth Potts, 23, was a drapery assistant. All the children were born in Brixton. The family had six rooms in their house at 9 Mordaunt Street, Stockwell.