Lance Serjeant 2489 Henry Samuel Potter

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 13th October 1915, age 32.
Commemorated on Panel 73 to 76 of Loos Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

1st/6th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 137th Brigade of 46th Division.

Born: Mansfield, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 5th March 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1766970/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Henry Samuel Potter registered June quarter 1883 in Mansfield.

1901 Census
24 Burford Road, Hyson Green, Nottingham
Augustus Potter (45, Valuer and Estate Agent, place of birth not known), his wife Elizabeth Martha (40, place of birth not known), and their son Henry Samuel Potter (17, Student Engineer, born Mansfield).

1911 Census
146 Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
Henry Samuel Potter (27, Mechanical Engineer, born Mansfield), his wife Sarah Worsey (33, born Tipton), and their 2 children: John Joseph (2, born Tipton), and Elisabeth May (2 months, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Henry Samuel Potts was both a pre-war Territorial Soldier, and for 8 years a member of Tipton Fire Brigade.

Action resulting in his death

The 1/6th South Staffs arrived in France between the 3rd and 5th March 1915. They moved to Armentieres on 20th March and then to Fletre for further training. In April the battalion marched to Wulveringhem in Belgium alternating between trench duties and further training. In June 1915 they moved nearer to Ypres, and for the next 2 months spent time at the feared Hill 60.

On 2nd October the 1/6th moved back into France to take part in the second stage of the Loos Offensive. Further training preceded the march to the assembly trenches near Vermelles on 12th October.

At noon on 13th October, a fine sunny day, the attack commenced. The 1/5th and 1/6th South Staffs were to attack the West Face of the heavily defended Hohenzollern Redoubt, from the trench known as Big Willie which was already partly held by the 1/5th South Staffs. The South Staffs battalions were to attack in 4 waves; 'B' and 'C' companies of the 1/5th, followed by 'A' and 'D' companies of the 1/5th, followed by 'A' and 'C' companies of the 1/6th, and finally 'B' and 'D' companies of the 1/6th.

The first wave hardly got out of their trench due to devastating machine gun fire decimating their number. The second wave made their advance unaware of the disaster in front of them and suffered similarly high casualties. The third wave followed on as ordered, as they too were unaware of the situation in front due to lack of communication and the smoke intended to mask the South Staffs advance. The fourth wave also took losses, but at this point the attack was called off.

The 1/5th South Staffs, who provided the first and second waves, had over 100 men killed on the day or died from wounds in the next week. The 1/6th South Staffs, who provided the third and fourth waves, lost over 125 men. The attack was a costly failure and this in effect was the culmination of the Battle of Loos. This was the single most expensive day for the 46th (North Midlands) Division, even though it was involved in July 1st 1916 at Gommecourt. The Division had casualties of 180 Officers and 3583 Other Ranks. As Edmonds wrote in the Official History ".. it was a long time before the Division recovered from the effects of 13th October."

Henry Potter, like the majority of the men killed here, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner, in sight of the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald November 13th 1915
Official news has been received of the death in action of Sergeant H. Samuel Potter of the 1/6th South Staffs Territorials. He is a married man with three children. Before the war he was employed as a draughtsman at Messrs. Wrights' Forge and Engineering Company, Tipton, and for eight of more years he has been a member of the Tipton Fire Brigade. The late Sergt. Potter was a quiet, gentlemanly man who had the respect of all who knew him. He had been for several years in the Territorials prior to the outbreak of war.