Thomas POTTS
Rank: Private
Number: 301820
Unit: 1/8th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 22 December 1917
Age: 30
Cemetery: Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Tom Potts had been born in Ashton under Lyne and was the second of two (and possibly three) sons that Henry and Elizabeth Potts would lose during the War. His younger brother, James, had been killed in 1916 and some family details are recorded on his biography. Another brother is known to have been serving and this may be the John Potts also commemorated on the South Reddish War Memorial

At the time of the Great War, the Potts family was living at 47 Broadstone Road, Reddish and Tom worked nearby at the Broadstone Spinning Company. He enlisted into the army at Manchester and his service number confirms this was sometime after the beginning of 1917.

On 22 December 1917, the Battalion was relieved from the support trenches by the 1/5th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers. The relief was completed by about 2.30pm and the Companies were marching back to billets at Oblinghem. In accordance with usual safety precautions, each platoon marched leaving a gap between it and the previous one of about 100 yards. It meant that, if they were shelled by the enemy, casualties would be minimised as they were spread out along the road. As "D" Company was marching through the French town of Bethune, there was a German air raid. About 50 bombs were dropped on the town, including about 5 which fell amongst the "D" Company men.

Tom was one of 22 killed outright. Another local man, Harry Horn, was amongst those mortally wounded and he died two days later.

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