Ballance McDonald POTTS

POTTS, Ballance McDonald

Service Number: 791
Enlisted: 1 March 1916, at Adelaide
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Langhorne Creek, South Australia, June 1894
Home Town: Langhorne Creek, Alexandrina, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farm Labourer
Memorials: Langhorne Creek Brinkley District WW1 Roll of Honour, Langhorne Creek WW1 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

1 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 791, 43rd Infantry Battalion, at Adelaide
9 Jun 1916: Involvement Private, SN 791, 43rd Infantry Battalion
9 Jun 1916: Embarked Private, SN 791, 43rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Afric, Adelaide
20 Sep 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 791, 10th Infantry Battalion, Menin Road, Shell shock

Help us honour Ballance McDonald Potts's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Before the War

Before the war Private Potts lived in Langhorne Creek, a rural Australian town. He lived in the same house as his father, Edward Potts. At this time, it was very common for young men to stay with their fathers if they had not yet found a wife. His job was as a farm labourer. Ballance may have worked his father’s land because it was quite common for someone to work their parents' land for them to earn money. Private Potts was part of the Church of England and was a natural-born British subject. He was a prime example of what was wanted for the war. He was a healthy young male, 21 years old and eight months, 5 foot eight with perfect vision. But just because he was what the war wanted, did not make him ready for it. Signing up for the war would have meant changing his life forever and being sent over to Britain for further training would have been very hard and strenuous work. He joined the AIF on the first of March 1916 and boarded the HMAT Afric A19 on the ninth of September 1916.

During the War

Private Potts' contingetn of reinforcements left for the war in 1916, stopping for a short period of time In Egypt, before going to Britain to complete their training for the war. In early Octgober he arrived on the western front, where they spent most of 1917 engaged in bloody trench warfare, in the region of Flanders. Private potts missed much of this being repeatedly hospitalised for illness. In September 1917 he suffered shell shock at the battle of Menin Road. After returning to action, he was wounded for the second time on 30 May 1918, this time in the shoulder. He returned to duty in July, meaning he took part in the Battle of Amiens in August.

After the end of the war, Private Potts went AWL in May 1919 and did not return. He was declared an illegal absentee and discharged from the AIF on the 27th of April 1920, after the war had ended. He did not receive service medals and nothing further is known.

Bibliography (n.d.). Session expired | RecordSearch | National Archives of Australia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Mar. 2021]. (2016). | The Australian War Memorial. [online] Available at: (2015). 43rd Infantry Battalion. [online] Available at: (n.d.). AWM4 23/60/14 - October 1917. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Mar. 2021]. (n.d.). AWM4 23/60/22 - June 1918. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Mar. 2021].

‌ (n.d.). AWM4 23/60/22 - June 1918. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Mar. 2021]. (n.d.). Session expired | RecordSearch | National Archives of Australia. [online] Available at:

Pip, Squeak and Wilfred (WWI Campaign Medals) | Great War Stories

Following the Twenty-Second. (2017). Discipline within the AIF on the Western Front. [online] Available at: