Page last updated at 09:08 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Go-ahead for memorial to Reading VC hero Fred Potts

Pte Fred Potts: Pic from Berkshire Yeomanry Museum
Fred Potts was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery

A campaign to raise £60,000 for a memorial honouring Reading's only holder of the Victoria Cross (VC) has been given the go-ahead by the council.

Trooper Fred Potts was awarded the medal in August 1915 for his bravery when he dragged an injured comrade to safety on a shovel in Gallipoli.

Mayor Fred Pugh put forward a motion at a meeting on Tuesday. It was agreed up to £5,000 will start the fundraising.

A statue on a plinth could be erected in Forbury Gardens.

"I am delighted to say the motion I moved at the council last night received enthusiastic all-party support," said Mr Pugh.

"We are looking at something like a brass representation of Trooper Fred Potts dragging his wounded comrade on the shovel."

Trooper Potts was a part-time soldier in the Berkshire Yeomanry when he was shipped to the Gallipoli peninsula where he first saw action.

It was during a bloody battle on 21 August that he earned the first Yeomanry VC for "most conspicuous bravery in rescuing a comrade under heavy fire", despite being shot in the thigh.

Fellow trooper Arthur Andrews was also gravely wounded after being shot in the groin but Trooper Potts dragged him to safety on the blade of a shovel under heavy enemy fire.

Trooper Potts survived World War I and returned to Reading to become a master tailor.

He died in 1943 having suffered throughout his life from his wounds.

The idea of a memorial came after his story was told in a BBC Radio Berkshire documentary broadcast on Remembrance Sunday last year.

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