Fred Potts VC used a shovel to carry wounded fellow soldier Arthur Andrews down the Scimitar Hill battlefield. Trooper Potts' granddaughter, Anne Ames, is pictured paying tribute at the inauguration of the memorial in Reading (Photo © Stewart Turkington)

VC soldier's 'shovel' rescue of Gallipoli comrade remembered

Posted on on 27 November 2015
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The heroism of a British soldier awarded the Victoria Cross for rescuing a wounded comrade under fire at Gallipoli is remembered on a new memorial in his home town of Reading.

Fred Potts VC is shown dragging fellow trooper Arthur Andrews to safety on a shovel.

Trooper Potts, who was himself injured, became known as the 'Hero with the Shovel' for his actions during the last major Allied offensive at Gallipoli in August 1915.

His bravery was subsequently recognised with Britain's highest decoration for gallantry, the Victoria Cross.

The bronze sculpture was unveiled by the television presenter Chris Tarrant (left) and the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, James Puxley, Queen Elizabeth's representative in the county of Berkshire (Photo: © Stewart Turkington)

The ceremony on October 4th 2015 was the culmination of six years' campaigning by the Trooper Potts VC Memorial Trust which raised £176,000.

Descendants of the soldiers read the Victoria Cross citation and the Exhortation. 

Guests included a representative from the Turkish Embassy in London, who read Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's words of reconciliation.

Troopers Potts and Andrews were wounded while taking part in the battle for Scimitar Hill, Suvla, on August 21st 1915.

Stranded on the battlefield, they sheltered in the scrub for two days before struggling back to the British lines. Fred Potts used the blade of a shovel as a sledge to carry the seriously wounded Arthur Andrews.

Both men served with the Berkshire Yeomanry.

A memorial unveiled alongside their monument in Reading town centre remembers the 426 men of the regiment who gave their lives in the wars of the 20th century. 

Lieutenant WEG Niven, father of the British screen actor David Niven, is among the First World War dead commemorated. He was killed in the Scimitar Hill attack.

The memorials are sited in front of Reading Crown Court, outside Forbury Gardens.

Source: Trooper Potts VC Memorial Trust

Images: © Stewart Turkington

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News