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Private Potticary remembered


Parishioners of St Vincent de Paul Church in Port Wakefield were joined by defence personnel from the nearby Proof and Experimental Establishment to remember and pray for the soul of Private Thomas Potticary on the centenary of his death.

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Private Potticary was killed in action on Messines Ridge, part of the action better known as Passchendaele on July 31, 1917. This was the third of the major battles fought around the city of Ypres in Belgium. He was one of the 22,000 Australian fatalities in that year of 1917, around a third of all Australian fatalities in World War 1.

Unable to visit his grave in Europe, his parents donated a memorial window to their local Catholic church in Port Wakefield.

Parish priest Fr Mark Sexton, who served in the Royal South Australian Regiment for two decades and is an army padre, invited staff from Proof Range to attend the Mass marking the centenary of Private Potticary’s death.

Among the family attending were Private Potticary’s niece and nephew, the children of his youngest brother who was only four years old when Thomas was killed.

Tasked with researching his life, soldiers from Proof Range discovered that the homestead where Thomas was born stood within today’s army range.


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