|Place||Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Pas de Calais, Boulogne, Boulogne Eastern Cemetery|
|Object type||Last Post film|
Australian War Memorial
|Place made||Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell|
|Date made||4 August 2016|
First World War, 1914-1918
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
|Copying Provisions||Copy provided for personal non-commercial use|
The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1051) Private Harry Bunce Pott, 25th Battalion, AIF, First World War.
The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (1051) Private Harry Bunce Pott, 25th Battalion, AIF, First World War.
1051 Private Harry Bunce Pott, 25th Battalion, AIF
KIA 10 August 1916
No photograph in collection
Story delivered 4 August 2016
Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Harry Bunce Pott.
Harry Pott was born on 1 October 1891 to Alfred and Gertrude Pott in Brisbane. He grew up in Darwin, where his father worked for the Customs Department, and attended public school before going to Sydney to undertake an accountancy course. He later returned to Darwin to work as a railway clerk. Pott was a keen marksman, and was the champion rifleman of the Darwin Rifle Club in 1913 and 1914. He was a member of the local Militia, and a foundation member of the Darwin Cable Guard.
Pott’s father died in 1914. Seven months later he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 26 April 1915. He underwent a period of training before leaving Australia with the 25th Battalion that June.
Private Pott arrived on Gallipoli in September 1915. There he wrote home to say that he had been chosen to become a sniper for the brigade, and that he was growing used to the constant gunfire. He was frequently ill, suffering from dysentery and jaundice, and wrote home saying, “I would give almost anything to see a Darwin paper, so please don’t forget to post one or two to me.”
He kept as much contact with other soldiers from the Northern Territory as he could, and often wrote home to pass on information as to whom he had seen, or who had been killed or wounded. At least one of his letters was written in a dug-out so cramped that he could not turn around or even sit up, with light from a rag wick stuck in a tobacco tin of fat. In early December he wrote:
I woke up to find that snow had fallen through the night, and it was still snowing at dinner time. My word it was cold, and as you know I had never put in a winter in my life, you can guess how I felt it!
Pott left Gallipoli in December and arrived on Lemnos suffering from jaundice, reporting: “there are only about half of the first contingent of the NT volunteers left. All of the rest … have gone away sick.” After a short period of training the 25th Battalion transferred to France to fight on the Western Front.
On 4 August 1916 the 25th Battalion attacked the German line, suffering heavy casualties. One of those was Private Harry Pott, who did not return, and several days later he was discovered lying wounded in no man’s land. He had been severely wounded, but two notes were found in his pocket. The first, to his company commander, read:
Hit in the side. No bandages to put on. Only three men left to go for stretcher-bearers. So far none turned up. No water since daylight. Kindest regards to all the Boys. Cannot move much – very hot. Wound getting very painful. Should say it is about five pm.
The second note, to his mother, was written much later:
Dear Mother. Been waving SOS signs all day. Cannot move. Have been hit in the spine as well. Hope someone turns up to-night – 56 hours without water or food. Only able to suck grass stems that are close to me. Fritz bombarded all night and pretty well all day. Mortification has set in. Good- bye and God bless you, mother, from your loving son, Harry.
Though taken to a nearby stationary hospital, Pott died of his wounds on 10 August 1916.
Private Harry Pott was buried in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, where he rests today under the words “Beloved by all.” He was 25 years old.
His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Harry Bunce Pott, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.
Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1051) Private Harry Bunce Pott, 25th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)