Born in 1894 at Woodford, son of John James (Civil Service Clerk) and Maud Maria Potter. 1901: With his family at 6 Endesleigh Gardens, Ilford. 1911: A scholar at Bancroft’s Woodford Wells, with his family at “Hope House” Forest Rise, Walthamstow.
He became a Royal Engineer who entered the European theatre of operations on 17-07-15. Having an aptitude for science he was attached to 2 Battalion Special Brigade, which was one of those units responsible for the deployment and use of poison gas through being released from long cylinders. The gas itself was a mixture of odourless phosgene and chlorine; its presence would only be realised once men’s lungs began showing the effects, by which time the damage had been done.
His Battalion was allocated to the 4th Army, which was formed on 5th February 1916 to conduct the campaign on the Somme. It is not clear exactly where or how John Potter met his end, but he was reported missing on 18-08-16, which was day 26 of the actions to secure Pozieres Ridge. No trace of him was found, so later he was formally declared “Presumed Killed in Action” on that date.
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian
For more information on this individual please see The Old Bancroftian website.