Rank: Private
Number: 32785
Unit: 8th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 17 July 1918
Cemetery: Kirkee 1914-1918 Memorial, Poona, India

John had been born in Ashton-under-Lyne, but was living in Reddish when he enlisted in early 1916. Nothing is known of his private life. It is possible that he is the brother of James Potts and Thomas Potts also commemorated on the South Reddish Memorial.

Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) was part of the Turkish Ottoman empire and an ally of Germany. Then as now, Britain relied heavily on oil from the area. When war broke out in August 1914, British troops were quickly sent to the area to protect its interests by occupying the oilfields and pipeline near Basra. 

Conditions for the men were appalling. Extremes of temperature (120 degrees F was common); arid desert and regular flooding; flies, mosquitoes and other vermin: all led to very high levels of sickness and death through disease. Under these conditions, units fell short of officers and men, and all too often the reinforcements were half-trained and ill-equipped. Medical arrangements were quite shocking, with wounded men spending up to two weeks on boats before reaching any kind of hospital.

John appears to have been evacuated to India to recover, most probably from dysentery. He will have been buried near to where he died. After World War 2, it became impractical for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to continue to properly maintain some 1800 graves, including John's, which are in isolated areas of India and Pakistan. A decision was taken to commemorate the men on the Memorial at Poona.

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