Edward John POTTS
Rank: Private
Number: 29676
Unit: 1st Battalion BORDER Regiment
Date of Death: 21 August 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery, St Omer, Pas de Calais, France

Edward had been born at Fleetwood, the son of Arthur & Ann. In 1901, when the Census was taken, the family was living at 6 Pleasant Bank Place, Preston. Arthur, then 33, earned a living as a joiner. His wife, Ann, was 35. Edward had an older sister, Annie, then aged 8.

At the time he enlisted into the army at Stockport, the family was living at 17 Jackson Street, Cheadle.

There were several hospitals operating in the St Omer area during 1918. Edward came here after being wounded in action.

It cannot be certain when Edward received his wounds, but the Battalion was in action from 18 August. On that day, they attacked toward the village of Outtersteene, in northern France, near the border with Belgium. At 11am, a bombardment of the enemy positions commenced and 40 minutes later, the Borders moved forward under heavy enemy defensive artillery shelling. Smoke shells had been fired to cover the advance but this was now making it difficult to see what was happening. Forward units of other Battalions had reported that the enemy had evacuated Outtersteene so it was decided to press forward into the village. Enemy snipers still operated from building around the village and these had to be dealt with.

The afternoon and early evening was spent securing the position but, around 8.45pm, it seemed as though the German troops were massing for a counter attack and they opened up with machine guns. Fire was returned and a successful artillery barrage was brought onto the German positions. The remainder of the evening was quiet and, at 3am the next morning, the Battalion was relieved. The relief was carried out under heavy enemy shelling and there were a number of casualties. By the next evening, their short period of rest was over and they were ordered back into the front line. And again, this was carried out under severe shelling.

Edward would have received treatment, from the Battalion's medical officer, just behind the front line at the Regimental Aid Post. He would then have been evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station some miles away. Military surgeons would have stabilised his condition and, as soon as he was able to travel, he would have been moved to the full hospital facilities operating along the Channel coast. 

(NB: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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