Service Number: 354990
Birth and Early Life:
Francis Potter, the second child of Plymouth, New Hampshire residents Edward and Annie Potter, was born around the year 1922. He grew up in Plymouth, graduated from high school, and was employed – probably at his father’s restaurant – when the war broke out.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Potter joined up on January 14, 1942; he trained at Parris Island, where his skill on the rifle range led to his selection for the First Marine Raider Battalion, Company C.
April 1, 1942 was an important day for Private Potter – not only was he a member of one of the toughest units in the Corps, training in exotic Samoa, but on that date he was rated a Specialist 5th Class – a Raider sniper. (1) In addition to marksmanship training, he studied the tactics of a sniper including camouflage and scouting.
Potter was promoted to Private First Class on July 1; just over a month later, on August 7, he landed on the island of Tulagi and participated in action against the Japanese garrison there. In September, he crossed over to Guadalcanal and fought in a raid near Tasimboko. Finally, in mid-September, his battalion moved into positions along a ridge near Henderson Field. Company C was tasked with manning early-warning outposts in the jungle, a position that nearly all could see meant they were expendable.
Date Of Loss:
PFC Potter was killed in action when a Japanese battalion overran his company’s position on the night of September 13-14, 1942. His remains, if found, were never identified.
Note: Potter was probably killed when his company’s position was overrun on the night of September 12-13. Due to the nature of the battle, many of the company’s dead were not recovered for several days, and many were unrecognizable. However, a lack of definitive eyewitness accounts make this merely speculation. His official date of loss is given as September 15, 1942.
Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Annie Potter
Status Of Remains:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
(1) Muster roll, First Marine Raider Battalion, April 1942