Funding Memorial for WWI Hero Backed by Chris Tarrant

Fred Potts memorialGallipoli Campaign of World War I – War was raging all around them. After all, they were hiding under the Turkish trenches. He was shot on his thigh but his wound was nothing compared to the fellow Yeoman with him; the other was unable to get up, severely wounded.

They had been hiding there for what had been long hours and he thought that if they didn’t move, they would really be killed there. Looking around, he saw a shovel. An idea struck him. He fixed that, linking it to his comrade’s equipment. He would use it to drag him to somewhere safe. He couldn’t just leave a fellow and see himself to safety. If they were saved, then good. But if they die while waddling through the crossfire, then so be it.

Such was the story of Trooper Fred Potts, the English WWI serviceman who did not leave his fellow English yeoman Arthur Andrews in the thick of battle of the Gallipoli Campaign in the First World War.

He, wounded himself, dragged Andrews using an improvised carrier made of shovel 600 yards away from their hiding place. They reached safety and both of them survived the war.

A Fit Memorial for a Hero

After WWI, Fred Potts became the recipient of the Victoria Cross in 1915 for the heroic deed he did to Arthur Andrews. Victoria Cross is the most supreme and important recognition given to any British and Commonwealth soldier for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

Fred Potts, being a native from Reading, Berkshire, is the only soldier from the town awarded with the said medal.

Now, almost a hundred years from the said war and 70 years from his death, the town decided to raise up a statue in memory of their local WWI hero. Trooper Potts Memorial Trust spearheaded the said move. A design for the statue, costing to 15,000 pounds, had already been selected and the location for the memorial had been narrowed down to two options in Reading.

Reading authorities, together with the charitable trust, hope to unveil the memorial in the centenary celebration of the rescue which falls on August 2015.

Backing By Famous Broadcaster

English TV and radio broadcaster best known for hosting the very first edition of the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Chris Tarrant, has backed a funding bid for the said Potts memorial.

The said bid hopes to raise 165,000 pounds for the making of the statue. Recently, Tarrant had been named a patron of the Trooper Potts Memorial Trust and he is quite enthusiastic about his new role.

“My dad was a war hero, he was awarded the Military Cross, but I knew very little about what he did until we did a film about him a couple of years ago. He was my closest friend but he never talked about the war,” the Berkshire native said.

“I’m a Reading boy and the Potts story is amazing, he’s an absolute hero. We should have a memorial for him, so I’m asking people to dig deep, we’re going to be going around with our begging bowls,” he added in regards to making a statue commemorating the WWI hero’s act of bravery.

Richard Bennett of the Trust had revealed that 25,000 pounds had already been raised an they are hopeful that the amount will rise up to 50,000 pounds come Christmas.

The funding drive for the said monument features various planned fundraising events.

-Based from articles in BBC News (UK) and Wikipedia




Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE