Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 10, 1880
Place of BirthBuckholm, Ladhope, Selkirk
Service Details
BranchBritish Army
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 11, 1962
Age at Death81
Buried AtChase Cemetery, Chase, British Columbia

Potts, George Alexander

George Alexander Potts was born on 10 July 1880 in Buckholm, Ladhope, Selkirk in Scotland. His father George Alexander Potts was from Wilton, Hawick in Roxburgh while his mother Elizabeth (Betsy) Tait was from Jedburgh, also in Roxburgh. The couple married in 1877 in Ladhope. George’s first wife Agnes Drummond had died in 1871, leaving behind children Thomas Drummond (b 1863), Annie Ovens (b 1865), and Janet Agnes (b 1870). George and Elizabeth’s first child, daughter Elizabeth Jane, was born in 1877 in Melrose in Roxburgh but by George’s birth they were in Ladhope. Other children born in Ladhope were Mary Elizabeth (b 1884), Margaret (Maggie) Helen (b 1887), and Robert John (b 1890). Over the years George Sr worked as a farm steward/grieve.

On 23 July 1903, in Currie, Midlothian on the outskirts of Edinburgh, George married Jane (Jean) Shiels Napier. Born on 31 December 1880 in Newbattle, Midlothian, a village about seven miles southeast of Edinburgh, Jane was the daughter of William Napier, also a farm grieve, and Margaret McAllister, the couple marrying in 1880 in Newbattle. At the time of their marriage George was working as a groom and Jane as a laundry maid. Settling in Troon, Ayrshire, son George Alexander was born in 1904 followed by son William Napier in 1906. By the time of the birth of Robert John in 1911 the family had moved to Eccles in the county of Berwick where George was working as a chauffeur. According to a later membership card to the Kenora, Ontario Branch of the Canadian Legion, George enlisted as a Private with the 384th Motor Transport Company on 4-12-1915 in Berwick, later transferring to No 1 Field Ambulance. The card indicated that he was discharged from service on 5-7-1919 at Ripon, rank of Private. Details of his service could not be confirmed.

In 1920 the family immigrated to Canada, son George Jr sailing from Glasgow aboard the Saturnia on the 21st April. George Sr, Jane, William and Robert arrived on the Saturnia in Quebec on the 15th of August, all on their way to Leifir, Manitoba where Jane’s widowed mother and some of her siblings were farming. The 1921 census found Jane and son Robert farming in the Lakeview area in the district of Neepawa of Manitoba, George Sr, George Jr, and William’s whereabouts unknown.

Sadly, Jane died on 30 March 1938 in the Winnipeg General Hospital. At the time of her death the family was living on Hull Avenue in the St Vital area of Winnipeg. Along with her mother, Jane is interred in the St Vital Cemetery in Winnipeg. At some point George Sr moved to Kenora in northwestern Ontario, signing his Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion membership card on 21 June 1943. At the time he was living on 8th Avenue South in the town. A 1945 Voters list for Kenora listed George as living with his son George and family at “365 Trans-Canada”, George Sr working as a labourer and George Jr as a superintendent.

According to his later death record, retiring from the lumbering business in 1951 George moved to Chase, British Columbia. He died on 11 April 1962 at the Royal Inland Hospital in nearby Kamloops. Predeceased by his wife Jane, father George (1917) and mother Elizabeth (1932), both in Scotland, at the time of his death he was survived by sons George (Rose King) of Fort Frances, Ontario, William (Betty Maria Green) of Chase, and Robert (Ann) of Kenora. William later died in 1985 in Kamloops, George Jr in 1986 in Victoria, BC, and Robert in 1989 (interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora). George in interred in the Chase Cemetery in Chase, BC.

By Judy Thorburn

Photographs courtesy of George’s great granddaughter Sharon Marie Vernon Cairns,
Jane’s grave marker photograph by Donald Schmidt,
George’s grave marker photograph by Herbert Rickards,