Potts, Lieutenant Jack Damond Sumner

No 67 (Australian) Sqn RFC

Jack Potts was born in New Malden, Surrey, on 2 April 1897, and was working as a Jackeroo when he joined the 7th Light Horse in Sydney on 16 May 1915. He departed from Sydney on HMAT A23 Suffolk on 28 July. He served with his regiment in Egypt until he was attached to the RFC in January 1917, when he commenced training as a pilot, after which he was commissioned in June. A posting to No 67 (Australian) Sqn followed in the same month.

He was killed in action on 4 January 1918 while flying RE 8 B5854 with Lt V J Parkinson, who was wounded and taken Prisoner of War. While on a bombing raid on Jenin, the RE 8 collided with an RE 8 from No 113 Sqn RFC, flown by Capt H Hewett and 2Lt A Butt, both of whom were killed.

The Official History has it that B5854 collided with a German Albatros that had attacked the No 113 Sqn aeroplane, and that the German pilot was also killed (this loss is not reflected in German records). Lt Potts was initially posted as Missing in Action, but his death was confirmed by a note dropped from a German aeroplane. Lt Parkinson was able to write a short note to his squadron, and it was also dropped from a German aeroplane. It read:

Dear Major Williams

Am extremely sorry to have to write in this fashion. Saw Poole and Hancock* as they passed through, at least they came to see me and both looked OK. Re the accident, can’t remember anything as to what took place and am more than sorry about poor old Jack Potts. Heard a couple of days ago about some kit being dropped, but up to the present none has arrived. Hope its some for me. Am getting treated very well. Kind regards to all

Yours faithfully

V J Parkinson

* = Lts A A Poole and F Hancock of No 1 Sqn, the crew of Bristol F2B A7202, brought down by anti-aircraft fire and taken Prisoner of War over Kalkilieh on 20 January 1918.

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