This 1939 grave of a British soldier now receives legions
of unlikely visitors.
A total of 3,888
identified casualties are buried in the British Commonwealth’s Ramleh War
Cemetery. But one grave attracts a disproportionate share of visitors. It
belongs to Private Harry Potter, number 5251351 in the Worcestershire Regiment,
who was killed while serving in British Mandatory Palestine in 1939.
Private Potter lied about his age so he could join the
British Army before turning 17. His regiment was sent to Palestine in September
1938 to counter anti-colonial Palestinian resistance.
While overseas, Potter worked in his battalion as a
driver and came to be known as “Crash Harry,” though it’s not clear whether he
was ever involved in a crash. He even signed his final letter home—which
arrived after his death—with that nickname. Now, of course, his name conjures
other associations and draws tourists who may not have otherwise visited the