Nelly Potter

Nellie Potter: Land Army Girl

Nellie was born in Long Melford on the 10th December 1900 to Arthur Potter, a miller’s carter, and Lucy, a horsehair weaver, who lived in Westgate Street, Long Melford. 

Nellie served in the Women’s Land Army during WW1. 

By January 1915, over 100,000 British men who had been employed in agriculture had gone to war. Consequently, it was difficult for farmers to complete their seasonal work and produce sufficient quantities of food. One outcome of this was the formation of the Women’s Land Army in March 1917 – a civilian women’s labour force of mobile workers, established to recruit, train and then channel young women into farm work. Between March 1917 and May 1919, 23,000 girls became official full-time members of the Women’s land Army.

Sadly, Nelly lost her brother, Walter, who served as an Able Bodied Seaman, in 1917 when the destroyer HMS Surprise was sunk by enemy action off Rotterdam on 23rd December. Walter’s body was never recovered. Of the 55 crew members only seven survived.

After the war, in 1924, Nelly married Harry Boreham, an ex-serviceman from Melford, who had joined the Suffolk Regiment in September 1914. In August 1915 Private Boreham was posted to Suvla Bay, Gallipoli. Having been evacuated to Egypt that December he went on to take part in the invasion of Palestine in 1917.

Nelly and Harry named their son born in 1926 Leonard Walter after the brother she had lost…