Martin Salter - working hard for Reading West
Trooper Fred Potts
Trooper Fred Potts

Prime Minister Asked to Support Memorial to Trooper Potts and the Berkshire Yeomanry

The campaign to establish a permanent memorial to Reading’s only Victoria Cross holder, Trooper Potts of the Berkshire Yeomanry, took another step forward today when Reading West MP Martin Salter wrote directly to the Prime Minister asking for a message of support in order to boost the endeavours of the new Memorial Committee which is due to hold its first meeting on 4th December.

Trooper Fred Potts won his Victoria Cross at Gallipoli in 1915 for an act of bravery which has been described as “one of the most extraordinary” of the Great War. Trooper Potts, although badly wounded himself by Turkish gunfire, saved the life of his fellow Reading townsman, Trooper Andrews, by dragging his wounded body to safety on a shovel over three days and nights under intense enemy fire.

Subsequently, Trooper Potts said, “It never struck me that I had done any more than any other British soldier would have done for a comrade”.

Mr Salter is helping to organise a Memorial Committee which will aim to raise in the order of £50,000 to establish a permanent memorial, possibly in the Forbury Gardens to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of Trooper Potts and the men of the Berkshire Yeomanry. The Committee, which has the support of all parties in Reading, will be chaired by the Mayor, Councillor Fred Pugh. Currently there is only one small plaque commemorating this act of bravery on a wall in Brock Barracks.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Salter said:-

I’m writing to you in this month of remembrance when we commemorate our dead and departed from conflicts past and present and salute their bravery and their sacrifice, to ask if you would lend your support to the cross party campaign being organised in Reading to establish a permanent memorial to the men of the Berkshire Yeomanry and in particular, to Trooper Fred Potts whose act of courage and self-sacrifice earned him the distinction of being the town’s only recipient of the Victoria Cross - this country’s highest award for valour.”

He added:-

We are not looking for any direct Government funding but would consider it a huge boost to our efforts if we could have a message of support from you for our endeavours to honour one of the bravest soldiers from our town and his comrades in the Berkshire Yeomanry.”