I was reminded by Lisa Ashford-Potter last week that today, 25th April 2015 is Anzac day, a day when all Australians and New Zealanders remember all those who died in all their wars.
Blantyre does not escape this tradition, despite being on the other side of the world. Lisa’s very own Great Uncle Thomas Potter, a young man from Auchentibber fought for the Australian Infantry and sadly died on 8th April 1918, aged 25. Son of William and Maggie Potter of Brown’s Land , Auchentibber.
Lisa told me, “I’ve attached a photo of my Grandfather, James McDonald Potter – Corporal 10th Battalion Scottish Rifles (Middle) and his brother, John Wilson Potter(Right), who fought in WW1. They are pictured with their brother Thomas Potter (Killed in Action WW1), who’s name appears on the memorial in Auchentibber. Thomas immigrated to Australia and enlisted with the Australian Forces. The photo is taken on tin.
I will continue to pass on photos and stories of my family who resided in Auchentibber and worked in the coal mines. My Dad’s brother, John McLaughlin Potter was born at 9 Clyde Row, Auchentibber, as stated on his Birth Extract. I do not have certificates for my uncle, William Potter, nor my Aunt, Mary Hart Potter but they too were born in Auchentibber before the family immigrated to Australia. They were sponsored to come to Australia by John
Boland Brown (an in-law) who owned a Mine in Aberdare, New South Wales. I think he may have owned the land in Auchentibber as it was once known as Browns Land (as my grandfather’s residence on the marriage certificate). This was also how my Great Uncle Thomas Potter came to reside in Australia prior to my grandfather and other members coming here in the 1920’s. Through the census the family also resided at Harris Land, Auchentibber. “
Thomas Potter’s Grave is pictured in Hangard Cemetary, France. The young man pictured in the photo at Thomas Potter’s grave is his great great nephew, Jed. He travelled from Australia to visit the site and reflect on the sacrifice Tommy and so many ANZACs made so we all can live in a lifestyle we are so fortunate to have. Lest We Forget.
Of course he is also remembered on the Auchentibber War memorial and appears on the Honour Roll at Kahibah Public School in New South Wales Australia. Perhaps he resided near here before he went to war?
Blantyre remembers Anzac Day and those brave souls who never made it back.