Cyril POTTS
Rank: sergeant
Number: 432681
Unit: 49th Battalion (Alberta Regiment) Canadian Infantry
Date of Death: 2 June 1916
Age: 34
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Cyril is another Stockport resident who, as a young man, emigrated to find a better life for himself.

In 1901, when the national Census was taken, Cyril was still living at the family home - 84 Grenville Street, Edgeley. His parents, John and Elizabeth, were 43 and 42. John was a travelling salesman for a tobacco company. Cyril's older brother, 22 year old Arthur, was also a salesman but in cotton yarn. His younger siblings were Russell (16), Louis (14), Mabel (12) and Gladys (8).

Cyril was 19 and working as a clerk in a cotton mill. Later in the year, He decided on a complete change of life - no more Stockport; no more working in an office. He moved to Canada, settling in Alberta, near Edmonton where he worked as a farmer.

On 11 January 1915, he went to the recruiting office at Edmonton and enlisted into the newly formed 49th Battalion that was being raised in the town. His attestation papers can be read on-line at the Canadian National Archives. He must have struck an imposing figure. He was very tall for those days standing at 6 feet 2 inches with a 40 inch chest. He had a fair complexion with grey eyes and fair hair. Cyril recorded his religion as Church of England. He had also indicated that his sister, Gladys, was his next of kin.

The Battalion left Canada in April and trained in the UK at Shorncliffe until 9 October when it embarked from Folkestone for France.

On the afternoon of 2 June 1916, the Battalion was in reserve positions at "Camp F" near the Belgian town of Ypres (now Ieper). At 1pm, they received orders to move to a position known as "Belgian Chateau". This was a large house two kilometres south west of the town centre. The Battalion's War Diary records that they moved an hour later led by a brass band. When they arrived at the position, they came under heavy shell and were ordered to move in small parties towards the town ramparts. They completed this move by 8.30pm.

Later, it was realised that Cyril was missing and, for several weeks, there was no news. It must have been a trying time for the family in Stockport but, in early July, Gladys received a letter from Colonel Griesbach. "Your brother's body was found in the trenches and was buried by the engineers. Your brother was a fine soldier and a gallant gentleman and much respected by the regiment. On behalf of all ranks, may I offer you our sincerest sympathy."

Cyril must have been killed in the shelling around Belgian Chateau. After the War, his grave could not be identified and he is now commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at Ieper.

   
           
   
     
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