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- 19th June 1917 - Despatch covering the German Retreat to the Hindenberg Line and afterwards.

- 27th December 1917 - Attacks on the hindenberg Line and consolidation of the Arras salient.

Relations also serving:

- Fred Potts, brother. Survived in Army Service Corps in France and the Machine Gun Corps in India.

Additional Documents

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Imperial War Museum War Partnership logoFirst World War - On this day...... 3rd May 1917

 

Remembering the men from the Kingsdown and Creekside Cluster
who gave their lives in the First World War

On the centenary of their death, we remember

George Potts (of Teynham)
b. 1881
d. 3rd May 1917. Aged 35 years.


Private, G/13626
"B" Company, 6th Battalion,
East Kent (The Buffs) Regiment
Remembered with Honour
Arras Memorial, Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery
Bay 2, Course G, Stone 6

Killed in Action

Arras Memorial


Married on 28th February 1903 to Rosa Frances Blagdon, George Potts had five children by 1915. In 1911 the family was living in Tin Bridge Cottages, London Road, Faversham. The births of his children show he lived where his work as a farm labourer took him. The births of his children were: George Edward (b. 19th August 1904 in Preston); Ernest John (b. 9th June 1906 in Milsted), and Alice Louisa Florence (b. 20th April 1908 in Doddington); Elsie May (b. 7th March 1912 in Preston); and Kathleen Rose (b. 25th September 1915 in Bapchild). His commemoration in Teynham reflects the marriage home recorded as "The Street, Greenstreet, Sittingbourne" and after his widow remarried her address was given as "Wildash Yard, Greenstreet, Teynham". In 1911, his address was east of Faversham at Tin Bridge Cottages, London Road, Faversham. His parents and family came predominantly from Petham and nearby, going back to his great-grandfather, John Potts. Throughout these generations, the male Potts family members were agricultural labourers.

His army records describes George as 5 feet and 4 inches tall; chest girth of 36" (expanding by 3"). He weighed 114 pounds, "good" physical development, slight varicose veins in his left leg and he had to be approved by an ophthalmic optician before being passed for active service.

The record of his Effects say "on or after" 3rd May 1917, "Death presumed". His effects comprised personal wages of £2 8s and his "War Gratuity" amounted to £3 only. This latter sum infers enlistment less than 12 months before his death. His wife, Rosa Frances, was his legatee. Early in 1919, Rosa married Henry Godfrey, living at Wildash Yard, Greenstreet, Teynham, Sittingbourne, Kent. So, the Teynham link is firm.

George was one of nearly 35,000 soldiers lost without a known grave who are recorded on the Arras Memorial. There were 368 casualties (killed, missing, injured) in the planned attack on German lines. The fighting was intense followed by counter attack. This explains the inability to recover George Potts' body.

George's brother, Frederick, also enlisted (1914) firstly into the Army Service Corps, Horse Transport, then the Machine Gun Corps.

George Potts was awarded the Victory and British War Medals:-

Victory Medal
British War Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal


Military Experience of George Potts

On 18th January 1916, George Potts Attested at Sittingbourne into the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, The Buffs, with a Regimental Number of 4714 based at Canterbury. His age was given as 35 years, 238 days. He went into the Reserve on 19th January 1916.

Four months later, 22nd May 1916, George was mobilised out of the Reserve and initially into the 4th (Reserve) Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). On 2nd June 1916, George was posted to 2/4th (Reserve). On 9th November he was posted back to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion. From here is was posted into the 3rd Battalion until he disembarked in France on 29th December 1916. On 30th December he was Posted into his fighting unit, the 6th Battalion. On 16th January 1917 was posted into "B" Company, 6th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Curiously, his records also show that two days earlier he was temporarily posted to the 9th Entrenching Battalion - "Entrenching Battalions" were 'temporary' formations made up of soldiers attached for the purposes of helping with ground-works or engineering projects or carrying supplies needed by the Royal Engineers.

The 6th Battalion, East Kent (The Buffs) Regiment served in the 12th Division, 55th Infantry Brigade. George would have seen action at the Battles of Arras started on 9th April 1917, opening with the Battle of Vimy Ridge (9th-14th April) and the first Battle of the Scarpe. There followed a second (23rd April) and third (2nd May) Battle of The Scarpe that ended the Battles of Arras. It was in this last action that George Potts fell.

6th Battalion, East Kent (The Buffs) Regiment Diary 1917

In the months and weeks leading up to the fateful days of May 1917, the 6th Battalion (The Buffs) moved out of Trenches at BEAUMETZ on 17th December 1916, marching into billets at SOMBRIN to rest and then training in frosty weather (parades under Company arrangements, physical drill, close order drill, musketry, bombing parties). This took them to 1917.
On 17th January, the 6th/Buffs and 6th/Royal West Kents left SOMBRIN in buses, on their way to ARRAS that evening. The 6th/Buffs relieved the 10th Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders to form the Reserve. With frost, cold and snow, the Battalion formed working and carrying parties over the following days until, on 18th January they relieved the Queens in the Front Line in “I” Sector. In these trenches, 6th/Buffs witnessed artillery exchanges and snow.
This process of Trench relief between the 6th/Buffs and 6th Queens continued into February until 7th February when they were relieved out of the Trenches by the 11th Middlesex Regiment. They returned to ARRAS as before, into the Reserve.
From ARRAS, on 11th February, 6th/Buffs were relieved by 2 Companies of the 11th Battalion, Royal Welch (sic) Fusiliers (3rd Division).
6th/Buffs marched out of ARRAS to billets in MONTENESCOURT where the Battalion was awarded the MEDAILLE MILITAIRE and a thaw set in. Here they entered a period of training that extended to include their move (16th February) to NOYELLETTE. Here the soldiers undertook running drills, close order drills, and organisation before an attack. On 23rd February, 6th/Buffs moved again for new billets – IZEL-LEZ-HAMEAU and more tactical training. On 3rd March, 6th/Buffs marched again to new billets in the huts of TALAVERA CAMP, AGNES-LES-DUISANS.
On 10th March, 6th/Buffs provided working parties in ARRAS to work under the orders of 38th Infantry Brigade. This continued through March, suffering the occasional periods of heavy enemy shelling of the town. They were relieved back to AGNEZ, IZEL, LATTRE, and St QUENTIN before another stint of providing working parties in ARRAS while artillery fired into the town but without loss to 30th March.
31st March: ARRAS: At 10 a.m. all Officers Commanding Companies and officers taking part in the offensive, were shown over the CAVES, before the Battalion went in in the afternoon.
At 4.45 p.m. the Battalion entered the CAVES (at PORTE de FER after the 6th Royal West Kents) and were in (LIVERPOOL, CHESTER, CHATHAM, BELFAST, GLASGOW, PORT RUSH, EDINBURGH) by 5.40 p.m. The Battalion started to leave at 7.45 p.m. and were all through the BROAD WALK exit by 9.10 p.m.
Working parties found as for 30.3.17 and also party of 3 officers, 6 N.C.O.s and 126 Other Ranks for carrying LIVENS projectors from Q.29.b.2.3. (RUE des TROIS EGLISES). Some shelling at intervals during the day.”

Illustration of a Livens Projector[* Livens Projectors were simple mortars used for projecting large canisters of gas or flammable liquid – Commons image right]

Field State: Fighting Strength: 46 Officers; 1033 O.R.s; 12 riding horses, 42 draught horses.

April 1917

1st – 4th April: ARRAS: Working Parties, over-flying both sides, fine weather.
5th – 6th April: British bombardments with German replies.
7th April: 6.0 a.m.: Artillery practices a creeping barrage over German positions. 5.0 p.m. reports received that the Germans were retiring and British forces made ready to carry the trenches at short notice, only to find the Enemy were alert and prevented a British move – a few prisoners taken. At 10.30 p.m. “a bombardment with LIVENS Projectors was opened on the enemy strong points.” No result given. 8th April: ARRAS: artillery bombardment of German positions continued, with retaliation all day. Trench ladders and bridges brought up to forward positions.
9th April: Zero Day. The Battalion was all formed up in Reserve Trench, duplicate reserve to BROAD WALK by 3.30 a.m. At Zero hour, 5.30 a.m. our artillery and Machine Guns opened an intense fire on the German lines, and at the same time the Battalion left the trenches, moving to the attach in artillery formation in support to the 6th Battalion, The Queens. 6th Royal West Kent Regiment was in support on the left to the 7th Battalion Royal East Surrey Regiment. On the right was the 13th Battalion KINGS (LIVERPOOL) Regiment. 3rd Division Battalion boundaries in crossing our front line was (ARRAS Trench Map): South: G.30.c.8.1½; North: G.30.c.9.6. The Battalion moved forward as under:- “C” Company on the right; “D” Company on the left; “A” Company + 1½ platoon “B” Company right support; “B” Company less 1½ platoon in left support; + Battalion H.Q..
After passing through the 6th Queens, the 1st objective – the BLACK LINE (HAVANT LANE – HORNSEA Trench – Road at H.81.a.6.7. was quickly captured by the Battalion without much loss. A two hours bombardment of the enemy’s second system – the BLUE LINE – followed and the advance was resumed as the barrage lifted forward. More opposition was encountered than before, snipers and Machine Guns being action on both flanks. After some stiff hand to hand fighting. “D” Company were able to get round to the flank and by rifle grenading concealed machine guns, pushed forward in shell holes, captured HOULETTE WORK, their objective on the BLUE LINE. “C” Company on the right were troubled by enfilade Machine Gun fire operating from the right flank from the ruins near ESTAMINET CORNER. By means of Lewis Gun fire, and rifle grenading their wire however eventually silenced, and the company was able to proceed. The Blue Line was then consolidated & Lewis Guns pushed forward and strong points dug. At 2.18 p.m. the 35th Infantry Brigade passed through this Battalion final objective. [change in writer] Casualties of the Battalion were – officers killed 2/Lt/Captain R.G.A. Money, 2/Lt T.W. BUSS. Wounded – Captain H.R. GORDON, 2/Lt N. WILKS, 2/Lt C.F. GOOD, 2/Lt FIGGIS, 2/Lt THORNLEY, W.H. SQUIRE, 2/Lt T.A. BALDWIN. [O.Rs. not recorded]
10th April: In The Field: The Blue Line was consolidated, “C” Company on the right, “D” Company on left, “A” & “B” Companies in HAUCOURT and HENGIST TRENCH. An attack was made on the BROWN LINE by the 37th Division & 35th Infantry Brigade which proved successful. MONCHY also being taken. The Cavalry went up but received rather severe handling with shrapnel and Machine Gun fire. 37th Infantry Brigade was held in reserve in readiness to move but was not required. The Enemy were very quiet in this Battalion Sector except for a little aerial activity.
11th April: In The Field: The morning was spent in clearing the Battlefield, forming dumps for tools etc. and burying dead. At Midday orders were received that the Battalion was to move forward into support in shell holes in FEUCHY CHAPEL, but about 3 p.m. orders were sent countermanding this. The Battalion then moved forward to a point on the Brown Line just below ORANGE HILL, where the remainder of the Brigade rendezvous, while waiting here for orders the position was somewhat heavily shelled with 8” and 5.9” and some casualties inflicted. About 8 p.m., the Brigade was informed that it would have to relieve the 37th Division and part of a Cavalry Brigade before MONCHY owing to the difficulty of reconnoitring the position through no guides being available for this Battalion, it was day light before a move could have been made. As no relief was possible in day time the 6th Battalion The Queens who had guides and the 6th Royal West Kents went up into the line, the 6th Buffs and 7th East Surrey Regiment remaining in support in the Brown Line. Brigade H.Q. was in the same place. Snow fell heavily all the afternoon and evening.
12th April: In the Field: Fine day. Battalion stood too, in readiness to proceed to MONCHY, as a German counter-attack was expected, some shelling during the day but no casualties. The Battalion was relieved by a Battalion of the 29th Division at 10 p.m. and marched back along the CAMBRAI ROAD to the CAVES in ARRAS arriving at 2.30 a.m.
13th to 23rd April: ARRAS to MONTENESCOURT to SAULTY. Billets, refitting, baths. Very wet. Firing ranges. Training.
24th April: Battalion marched from SAULTY at 8.30 a.m. via BARLY – FOSSEUX – HAUTEVILLE to billets at NOYELLETTE. 25th April: Battalion marched from NOYELLETTE at 8.30 a.m. via HABAROQ – AGNEZ-by-DUISANS to billet in DUISANS. 26th April: Battalion Marched from DUISANS to billets in ARRAS where they remained in training until 29th April.

[At this time the fighting strength was 40 officers, 979 Other Ranks; 11 riding horses, 41 draught horses.]
30th April: Battalion moved into the line taking over trenches from 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

May 1917

Disposition Map - May 1917

1st May: MONCHY: Relief of 7th NORFOLKs completed by 1.15 a.m. The following officers were in command of Companies. “A” Company – 2/Lt WILLIAMS; “B” Company – Lieut (Acting Captain) McDERMOTT; “C” Company – Lieut. (A/Capt) KITCHIN; “D” Company – 2/Lt MORLEY. Battalion H.Q. was situated at the corner of MONCHY WOOD (O.1.a.9.8). The line taken over was between HARNESS and BIT LANE. The day was fairly quiet except for some shelling on ROEUX. After dark, the 7th Battalion East Surrey took over the trenches occupied by us and the Battalion moved into positions in shell holes. “A” Company on the right, supported by “C” Company; “B” Company on the left, supported by “D” Company.
[2nd May inferred as "best fit" – absent in original] Orders were received for a general attack in the morning by 1st, 3rd and 5th Armies. The Battalion was allotted the following objectives:- (1) DEVILS TRENCH; (2) KEELING COPSE. The 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment were on the left, 13th Kings Liverpool Regiment on the Right, 2 Companies 6th Royal West Kent Regiment in support, and 6th Queens in Reserve. Zero hour was ordered for 3.45 a.m. 2/Lt WILLIAMS was wounded during the evening and 2/Lt WARNINGTON came up from the ‘details’ camp to take over command of “A” Company.
[Casualties are barely mentioned in the narrative of this Diary]
3rd May: MONCHY: At Zero hour, an intense barrage opened and a creeping barrage opened at the rate of 100 yards per 3 minutes. The Battalion went over at the same time. The Signal Officer 2/Lt McCAULAY with 2 signallers and 4 orderlies went forward to establish an Advance Battalion H.Q. in DEVIL’s TRENCH {see map}. No communication being possible, the party returned about 4.30 a.m. 2 Prisoners had already been sent down and apparently the Battalion had gone forward, but in the darkness it was impossible to ascertain anything definite. Owing to snipers and L.G. (Lewis Gun) fire, it was difficult to obtain any information as to how events were proceeding during the day.
A/Capt McDERMOTT and A/Corporal KITCHIN became casualties early in the day (the latter dying of wounds the following day). During the day except for continuous sniping and sudden bursts of artillery fire, it was fairly quiet.
A hostile aeroplane was brought down by our L.G. fire in the afternoon. At dusk it was ascertained that the Battalion had suffered severe casualties amongst officers and O.R.s and that the line held was practically as before.
2/Lts SEAGO and SOWTER were sent for from the details camp and arrived about 10.0 p.m. These officers were sent forward to re-organise what remained of the Battalion.
The attack on the flanks was unsuccessful and it was afterwards found that 2 officers – 2/Lts COCHERANE and GUNTER with about 40 men had worked forward in the dark and had established themselves in a position N.E. of KEELING COPSE {see map} with a Lewis Gun. They were able to account for a considerable number of Germans. After dark having expended every cartridge and bomb they possessed, they cut their way back through 3 lines of German trenches. The 2 officers with 13 men returned finally to Battalion H.Q.

The following casualties were sustained during these operations:-
2/Lt WILLIAMS H.W. – wounded; Lieut. (A/Capt) McDERMOTT W.K. – Wounded
2/Lt WARNINGTON C. – Missing; 2/Lt NESBIT C.H.F. – Wounded
2/Lt KIRKPATRICK A. – Missing; 2/Lt GRANT A.E. – Missing
2/Lt DINSMORE J.H. – Killed in Action; 2/Lt JAMES K.L. – Missing
Lieut (A/Capt) KITCHIN S.B. – Wounded (since died); 2/Lt WILLIS J.S.H. – Missing
2/Lt EVANS H.W. – Missing; KING E.A. – Missing
2/Lt FORSTER R.L.F. – Missing; HARDY-MASON H.V. – Killed in Action
With 360 O.R.s

A further attack by the 6th Royal West Kent Regiment was made at 9.45 p.m. to establish posts at I.32.d.3.5. (West of KEELING COPSES). The attack did not succeed.

4th May: MONCHY: About 2 a.m., the Battalion was relieved by the 6th Battalion, The Queens, and returned to the Gun Pits at H.36.A.H. The day was quiet except for shelling on MONCHY-ROEUX and the ridge 4.35.D central – H.36.A.0.1.
About 10.30 p.m. the Battalion was relieved by 9th ESSEX Regiment and returned to the RAILWAY TRIANGLE. The 9th EAST SURREY Regiment going to the same place with Brigade HQ. The 6th Queens to the ORANGE LINE and the 6th ROYAL WEST KENTS to BROWN LINE.

5th May: RAILWAY TRIANGLE: The Battalion was reorganized into 2 Companies of 2 Platoons each as follows:-
No.1 Company 2/Lt STEVENS (O.C.); 2/Lt SOWTER, SEAGO, SANKEY.
No.2 Company Capt. CARTER (O.C.); 2/Lts GUNTHER, COCHERANE.
6th May: RAILWAY TRIANGLE: The Battalion was bathed in ARRAS. A few shells fired from a high velocity gun fell in the vicinity of the TRIANGLE, but caused no damage.


Creekside Cluster Losses on 3rd May 1917

Thursday 3 May 1917 saw the heaviest casualties for Lynsted when 5 men were lost at the Third Battle of the Scarpe.
The stories of these 5 men follow similar paths. Amos Brown and Reginald Weaver both served in 6th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Stanley Cleaver and MacDonald Dixon served in both the Royal East Kent Yeomanry (The Duke of Connaught’s Own) (Mounted Rifles) and 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). William Gambrill served in both Royal East Kent Yeomanry (The Duke of Connaught’s Own) (Mounted Rifles) and the Household Battalion, Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line, alongside Henry Carrier who was lost 8 days later on on 11 May 1917.

Three more men were lost that day from the Creekside Cluster. Harry Filmer, lost from Newnham, served in the 1st (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). William Henry Laker, lost from Teynham, served alongside Stanley Cleaver and MacDonald Dixon serving in 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). George Potts, also lost from Teynham, served alongside Amos Brown and Reginald Weaver, 6th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).

Six of these eight men fell without a known grave and are recorded in Bay 2 of the Arras Memorial alongside 242 other men from The Buffs who perished that day. They are Amos John Brown, Stanley Monkton Cleaver, MacDonald Dixon, William Henry Laker, George Potts and Reginald Douglas Weaver.


Artefacts

1) Casualties during this operation - 30th April 1917 to 6th May 1917

Summary of 37th Infantry Brigade Casualties from midnight 30/4/17 to 1/5/17 to 6 p.m. 6/5/17
 
Classification
Total casualties
  Killed Wounded Missing  
UNIT Officers O.R. Officers O.R. Officers O.R. Officers O.R.
6th Queen’s - 8 2 49 - - 2 57
6th East Kent, The Buffs 1 25 4** 128 9 207 14 360
7th East Surrey Regiment 3 19 3 99 5 86 11* 204
6th R.W. Kent Regiment 1 24 4 90 7 122 12 236
37th Machine Gun Company - 1 1 11 - - 1 12
TOTAL 5 77 14 377 21 415 40 869
*1 at duty     ** 1 died of wounds.

 

2) Brigade Report on Operations of 3rd May

Report on Operations carried out by the 37th Infantry Brigade on May 3rd, 1917 – 37th Brigade, as part of 12th Division.

GENERAL IDEA
The attack was divided into three Phases:-

  1. The attack on GUN TRENCH and KEELING COPSE, known as the BROWN LINE.
  2. The attack on CARTRIDGE TRENCH known as the YELLOW LINE
  3. The attack on a line running North from the BOIS du SART known as the PINK LINE.

The 9th Infantry Brigade on the right was attacking the BOIS de SART.
The 36th Infantry Brigade on the left was attacking to the North of and the same trenches as ourselves.

As will be seen from the map, the attack of the 12th Division entailed the troops on the left attacking over a greater distance than those on the right, the left of the attack so to speak having to come round the outer edge of a semi-circle radiating roughly from the junction of GUN and CARTRIDGE Trenches.
It was impossible to avoid an attack on these lines owing to the system of the German trenches radiating from the high ground East of MONCHY and fanning out down the several small re-entrant valleys running from the River SCARPE.

The situation on May 2nd was as follows:-
The BAYONET TRENCH and RIFLE TRENCH as far as I.31.a.7.5 were held by the 36th Infantry Brigade, from that point to HARNESS LANE was held by the enemy.
Between HARNESS LANE and BIT LANE, RIFLE TRENCH was occupied by the 37th Infantry Brigade.
In order to bring the 36th Infantry Brigade up into line with the 37th Infantry Brigade an attack on SCABBARD and that portion of RIFLE trench held by the enemy was delivered on May 2nd. This attack was carried out by one Battalion and failed. The result being that the 36th Infantry Brigade was not up in line with us when launching the attack on the 3rd instant.
At 3.45 a.m. on the 3rd instant the attack was launched under cover of darkness.

Dispositions of the Brigade were as follows:-
6th Battalion The Buffs on the Right.
Their Orders were to advance in conjunction with the 9th Infantry Brigade who were attacking the BOIS DU SART to capture KEELING COPSE, establishing defensive Strong Points facing North and North East at the junction of DEVILS TRENCH and BIT LANE, at the head of the valley commanding the Southern end of CARTRIDGE Trench and two posts East of KEELING COPSE.
The 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment on the left.
These two Battalions were each supported by two companies of the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment, who moved into the trenches vacated by the 6th Battalion The Buffs and 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment from their position in LONE VALLEY.
The 6th Battalion The Queen’s in Reserve moving up into LONE VALLEY.

The intense darkness at 3.45 a.m. was the direct result of lack of success for this attack.
There is no doubt that the front waves reached their objective but the mopping up waves passed over portions of trenches and shell holes filled with the enemy. From reports received there appears to have been little opposition at first, but the second and subsequent waves came under heavy rifle and Machine Gun fire from DEVIL’s TRENCH, were held up and the leading Companies of both the 6th Battalion The Buffs and 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment were cut off.
It appears that these companies reached parts of GUN Trench and CARTRIDGE Trench and a point just West of KEELING COPSE, the fact that these troops were out in front prevented a second Artillery Preparation for a subsequent attempt to clear the enemy in DEVILS Trench.
Communication was very difficult to maintain and any movement of troops was immediately barraged by German Machine Guns.
The enemy soon brought up strong reinforcements; on three occasions his attempts to bring them up in mass were frustrated by our Artillery fire, so he resorted to the expedient of dribbling them up in small parties of two’s and three’s, making special use of the sunken road (BIT LANE) and gaining access there via the valley close to PELVES and the low ground West of JIGSAW WOOD. Throughout the day there was little of enough importance to report and the situation on our front remained unchanged.
It was decided to make a second attempt to gain and clear DEVILS Trench after dark. Orders were accordingly issued to the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment to form up and attack at 9.30 p.m., this attack being subsequently postponed till 10.15 p.m., the 38th infantry Brigade taking part and attacking SCABBARD TRENCH.

The intention of the operation was as follows:-
Having cleared SCABBARD and DEVILS Trenches we could then advance and establish a line along GUN Trench, in which we hoped to find elements of our troops who had gained a footing there in the morning attack.
This attack met with complete failure within a few minutes of its being launched. The Battalion came under a very heavy cross Machine Gun fire.
Casualties were heavy, especially amongst the Officers.
Lieut. Colonel COPE, Commanding 6th Battalion The Buffs informed me that in his opinion any subsequent attempts was courting disaster, until we could succeed in silencing the Machine Guns. I accordingly reported these facts to the Division who ordered me to re-organise and consolidate on the line I was holding. I then ordered the 6th Battalion The Queen’s to take over the Right Half of the line and the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment the left half, withdrawing the 6th Battalion The Buffs and the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment into Brigade Reserve in the LONE VALLEY.

Much interesting information was gathered during the night from parties and individuals who had managed to crawl or fight their way back from the forward positions they had gained in the early morning advance, the most important item being:

(1) DEVILS Trench was strongly occupied.
(2) German reinforcements were dribbled in parties of twos and threes.
(3) Repeated attempts of the Germans to form up were frustrated by our Artillery fire, the Germans suffering heavy casualties.
(4) The Germans lit our Red Flares whenever our Aeroplanes called up our own troops to light them and indicate their position.
(5) The enemy appeared to make full use of shell holes both for sniping and machine gun emplacements.
(6) He was very nervous and much shaken.
(7) Part of DEVIL’s Trench was camouflaged.
(8) BIT LANE was the chief route of communication, both for runners and as a route for re-enforcements during the battle.

In summing up my Report I am of opinion that had we attacked in daylight the results would have been successful.
The importance of attacks mopping up the ground as they proceed cannot be over-estimated.
The darkness prevented the ground being systematically searched by the mopping up waves, many parties and the trenches of the enemy being overlooked with the result that our troops leading the attack were cut off and the attack broke down.

8th May 1917.
Brigadier General,
Commanding 37th Infantry Brigade.


Creekside Cluster Losses on 3rd May 1917

Thursday 3 May 1917 saw the heaviest casualties for Lynsted when 5 men were lost at the Third Battle of the Scarpe.
The stories of these 5 men follow similar paths. Amos Brown and Reginald Weaver both served in 6th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Stanley Cleaver and MacDonald Dixon served in both the Royal East Kent Yeomanry (The Duke of Connaught’s Own) (Mounted Rifles) and 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). William Gambrill served in both Royal East Kent Yeomanry (The Duke of Connaught’s Own) (Mounted Rifles) and the Household Battalion, Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line, alongside Henry Carrier who was lost 8 days later on on 11 May 1917.

Three more men were lost that day from the Creekside Cluster. Harry Filmer, lost from Newnham, served in the 1st (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). William Henry Laker, lost from Teynham, served alongside Stanley Cleaver and MacDonald Dixon serving in 7th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). George Potts, also lost from Teynham, served alongside Amos Brown and Reginald Weaver, 6th (Service) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).

Six of these eight men fell without a known grave and are recorded in Bay 2 of the Arras Memorial alongside 242 other men from The Buffs who perished that day. They are Amos John Brown, Stanley Monkton Cleaver, MacDonald Dixon, William Henry Laker, George Potts and Reginald Douglas Weaver.


Family of George Potts

Potts Family tree Draft

Click on image for larger version


Other Family Members and WW1 - Frederick Potts

Frederick survived the First World War. His military papers also survived. His wife, Elizabeth, has a given address of East Wooton, Petham, near Canterbury and his profession is "baker". He stood 5 feet, 3 inches tall with a 34½" chest (2½" expansion). His physical development on attestation was "fair". He suffered from "hammer toes" that were operated on successfully.

His original attestation was made on 24th November 1914 into "Army Service Corps, Horse Transport" as a "Driver" until, on 15th December when he transferred to the 19th Division Train which, was sent overseas on 17th July 1915 as part of the 4th Company (157), 19th Division Train aboard the "City of Chester" from Southampton to Le Havre. He was on leave from 30th January 1916 to 6th February 1916 only to present himself on 13th March with influenza, but discharged back to duty straight away.

On 12th March 1916 Fred was serving again at Home. On 2nd May 1916, at Scotton Camp, Catterick, Fred's fitness to serve was classed - Class D, 3rd. But by 9th June 1916 he was found "fit for general service".

On 13th March, 1917, he is transferred into the Machine Gun Corps as a driver and temporary, unpaid, Lance Corporal. From Belton Park (MGC Training Grounds), Grantham, he was posted to No.7 Battalion, still unpaid. He was finally appointed "paid Lance Corporal" for the "period of the voyage", stationed at Mhow, India. On 22nd October 1919, Fred embarked aboard the S.S. China, from Bombay - by now an "acting Sergeant". He was demobbed on 9th December 1919 to the Reserve with East Wooton his address.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals.