Hurtle Francis Constable POTTER


POTTER, Hurtle Francis Constable

Service Number: 3740
Enlisted: 21 September 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 52nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Yongala, South Australia, 15 June 1894
Home Town: Yongala, South Australia
Schooling: Yongala Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Mason
Died: Killed in Action, Mouquet Farm, France, 3 September 1916, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Courcelette British Cemetery
Courcelette British Cemetery (Plot VI, Row G, Grave No. 2), France, Courcelette British Cemetery, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Broken Hill Railwaytown War Memorial, Yongala Methodist Church Soldiers Roll, Yongala Roll of Honour, Yongala War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

21 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3740, Adelaide, South Australia
2 Dec 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3740, 12th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 Dec 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3740, 12th Infantry Battalion, RMS Malwa, Adelaide
3 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3740, 52nd Infantry Battalion, Mouquet Farm

Help us honour Hurtle Francis Constable Potter's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout, Australia and NZ in WWI
Behind each grave is a name, a story, destinies and broken families, discovering the one I am going to tell you, my tears began to flow because they describe the horror of war but they must be told so that these horrors never happen again.Today, I want to share with you the story of a man and his brothers who were cut down by war, I would like, with gratitude, to pay a very respectful tribute to the Private number 3740 Hurtle Francis Constable Potter who fought in the 52nd Australian Infantry Battalion and who was killed in action 104 years ago, on the night of September 3-4, 1916 on the Somme front at the age of 22.

Hurtle Francis Constable Potter was born on June 15, 1894 in Yongala, South Australia, and was the son of Benjamin and Eliza Potter, of Wilmington, South Australia, native of Yongala. Hurtle had three brothers, Edward Wilfred Potter, Thomas James Albert Potter and Ralph Victor Potter. Hurtle was educated at Yongala Public School and before the outbreak of the war he was single and lived in Yongala where he worked as a mason.

Enlisted on September 21, 1915 in Adelaide, South Australia, at the age of 21 in the 12th Australian Infantry Battalion alongside his three brothers, he embarked with his unit and with his brothers from Adelaide, on board HMAT RMS Malwa on December 2, 1915 and the four brothers were later transferred to the 52nd Australian Infantry Battalion, Company D.

On March 3, 1916, Hurtle arrived in Egypt and was transferred to the 52nd Australian Infantry Battalion at Tel-El-Kebir with his brothers and joined the British Expeditionary Force in Alexandria and on June 5, 1916, they embarked from Alexandria on board the "Ivernia "for France and they were disembarked in Marseilles on June 12, 1916 and were, all four, sent to the front of the Somme for the battle of the Mouquet farm, Pozieres.

The Battle of Mouquet Farm was the first major engagement of the 52nd Australian Infantry Battalion in the Somme and was 1.1 miles north-west of the high ground near Pozieres.Following the fighting that had occurred around the village earlier in the year, the British decided to gain control of the ridge beyond the village in order to create a gap in the German lines.The British hoped capturing Mouquet Farm would destabilise the German position and enable subsequent gains.During the battle, the three Australian divisions of 1 Anzac Corps advanced north-west along the Pozieres ridge towards the German strongpoint, with British divisions supporting on the left.The approach to the farm, however, was under observation from German artillery spotters who were able to call down barrages on the attackers from three sides of the salient that had developed in the lines.

These intense barrages resulted in heavy casualties amongst the attackers before they even reached the farm, however, over the course of August and into September, the Australian divisions managed to reach the farm three times, only to be forced back each time.In the second attack of September 3-5 the 52nd Battalion had a key assaulting role and suffered heavy casualties, 50 per cent of its fighting strength.1 Anzac Corps suffered some?6300 casualties and was so depleted they had to be taken off the front for two months.As that battle dragged on, the Canadian Corps took over from the Australians, who were withdrawn on September 5.The Canadians captured the farm on September 16 but were pushed out by a counter-attack and by the time the battle concluded in mid-September, the German garrison still held out in part of the farm. The farm was eventually captured on September 26.

Unfortunately, on the night of September 3-4, 1916, during the second attack to take the Mouquet farm, Hurtle was killed in action by a sniper after being shot in the head, sadly the misfortune did not end here.One of Hurtle's three brothers, Private number 3738 Edward Wilfred Potter was also killed in action the same day at Mouquet farm, he was 25 years old, then it was the turn of the third brother, Private number 3739 Thomas James Albert Potter to die on the same battlefield, the same day as his brothers, he was 31. Hurtle's fourth brother, Private number 3741 Ralph Victor Potter was injured, also during the attack on Mouquet farm, he survived the war and died in 1968.

Today, Hurtle Francis Constable Potter rests in peace with his comrades and brothers in arms at Courcelette British Cemetery, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "Greater love hath no man".
unfortunately, Hurtle's two brothers, Edward Wilfred, Thomas James Albert, who died on the same day as him were not found on the battlefield and have no known graves, they are commemorated at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

Ralph Victor Potter, who was the only survivor among his brothers returned to Australia on December 20, 1917 but misfortune struck again, two months later, Eliza Potter, the mother of the four boys, died on December 20, 1917 at the age of 57, she rests in peace in Yongala Cemetery. Her husband, Benjamin Potter died in Adelaide Hospital in 1934 at the age of 76 and he rests in peace in Cheltenham.

Hurtle, Edward, Thomas, Ralph, it is with a lot of emotions in my heart and with tears in my eyes that I wish to say thank you from the bottom of my heart, brothers in life and on the battlefield, you fought together with the highest bravery and fell on the same day on the same battlefield a few meters from each other united until your last breath in the fraternal bond that united you and today I think of your mother, your father and your brother, Ralph who survived the war and who had to live with this weight and the sadness of this terrible loss, I think of your mother who received the sad telegram announcing the death of three of her son on the battlefields of the Somme, how to face that?, how to overcome this sadness? you were young and brave and together you decided to answer the call of duty and fight in the trenches and battlefields of the Sum which shattered so many lives and left countless families devastated by sorrow, four sons, three of whom never came back to you, nothing, not a single word would be strong enough to express my gratitude to you who saw your children leave and who today rest in peace on peaceful soils of the Somme on which bloom the poppies of memories and which stand up like so many crosses reminding us that here, thousands of sons, fathers, uncles, gave their lives for us and leaving thousands of families who faced the emptiness of the presence of their loved ones who, far from home, fell here and who today rest in peace on the soils of a friendly country which will always watch over words are nothing compared to the greatness of your sacrifice but with all my heart I wish to tell you and tell your families who suffered the loss of so many sons that I would do anything to watch over them with the utmost care and the greatest tenderness, with devotion and also with the greatest respect and until my last breath, I would watch over their graves and I would transmit the memory and the history of these young boys to whom we owe so much, I would carry high the Flame of Remembrance and the colors of Australia in France and the Somme, we will never forget who these boys were and all they did and endured for us. we will always watch over them so that their names live on forever.Thank you hurtle,Edward,Thomas,Ralph,from the bottom of my heart.At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. 



The four brothers POTTER, Thomas, Edward, Ralph, and Frank, enlisted within weeks of each other in 1915 and were issued sequential serial numbers.

3738 Pte. Edward Wilfred POTTER (/explore/people/53329) 52nd Inf. Batt. - Killed in Action 03 Sep 1916 Mouquet Farm, France. Aged 25

3739 Pte. Thomas James Albert POTTER (/explore/people/291228) 52nd Inf. Batt. - Killed in Action 04 Sep 1916 Mouquet Farm, France. Aged 31

3740 Pte. Hurtle Francis Constable POTTER 52nd Inf. Batt. - Killed in Action 03 Sep 1916, Mouquet Farm, France. Aged 22

3741 Pte. Ralph Victor POTTER (/explore/people/327393) 52nd Inf. Batt. - Survived the Great War and lived to the age of 68.



YONGALA, May 17.— Official notification has been received that Ptes. T. J. A. (bis) Potter and H. F. C. (Hurtle) Potter (sons of Mr. and Mrs. B. Potter of Yongala), who were reported missing as from the beginning of September last, are now reported as having been killed at that time. Four brothers of the Potter family enlisted at the same time, and they sailed for the front on December 2, 1915. Three of them have now been killed, and the other is in hospital, having recently been wounded.

The deceased soldiers were born at Yongala. Pte. T. J. A. Potter would have been 32 years old in July next, and Pte. H. F. C. Potter, the youngest son, would have reached the age at 23 years next month. They were keen cricket, football, and tennis enthusiasts, and as playing members of the Yongala clubs were well known in the northern districts. They also took an interest in local matters generally, and their upright and straightforward characters made them very popular everywhere." - from the Adelaide Observer 26 May 1917 (