Exeter City and its Supporters Trust will be remembering two members of the Football Club who were killed on active service during the Exeter Blitz 75 years ago.
On 4 May 1942 a German Air Raid dropped 30 tonnes of high explosives, 10,000 incendiary bombs and three landmines on the city. A total of 282 people are known to have died including two with strong Exeter City FC connections: former player Albert Potter and Club Chairman Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Hunter.
Potter was a local lad born in Exeter in 1897. He was spotted playing for Pinhoe and signed for City in 1922. He made his League debut in 1924 and went on to make 89 League and 5 FA Cup appearances for the Grecians. Highlights included a Boxing Day goal in a 3-0 win over Plymouth Argyle in front of 14,000 fans at St James Park in 1924. He was also part of the City team that beat Ajax 5-1 in Amsterdam in 1925.
Albert signed for Wigan Borough in 1927 making a further 67 League appearances plus 3 FA Cup matches, one of which was played at home against Sheffield Wednesday in front of 30,443 – a record for Springfield Park. Potter moved on to Colwyn Bay United and then returned to Exeter to live and work.
During the war Potter was an Air Raid Warden and it was while on duty where he lived, in the Burnthouse Lane area, that he was killed in heroic circumstances. Despite the ongoing blitz Albert went to help at a neighbour’s house where a new born baby had arrived. He was hit and died from his injuries in the RD&E Hospital in Southernhay. He was only 44.
Albert is buried in the cemetery at All Saint’s Whipton and the Supporters Trust History Group has liaised with the Whipton Community Association who have kindly given the grave a spring clean.
A memorial ceremony will be held at 3pm on Thursday 4 May at the grave. Potter’s daughter and other family members and friends are planning to be there. The Past Lord Mayor of Exeter, Councillor Olwen Foggin, will also be present. All are welcome to attend.
Potter’s daughter Pam Goodrich said “The family are very proud of their link with Exeter City and are really pleased that my father is being remembered by the Club. We are looking forward to visiting Exeter for the memorial event”.
Exeter City also lost their Club Chairman Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Hunter in the blitz. Hunter was a prominent local businessman with a special interest in cars. He was a director of Messrs. Pike and Co Ltd Motor Engineers and held gold medals from driving in the London – Edinburgh and London- Land’s End Runs. He had become Club Chairman before the war.
Hunter was a Home Guard Commander and on the night of the blitz was on fire watching duty at his home in West Avenue. He was seriously injured from a bomb attack and died two days later at Exminster Emergency hospital, aged 64.
Frederick is buried in St John’s in the Wilderness Church cemetery in Exmouth and the Club will be laying flowers on his grave on Saturday 6 May – the 75th anniversary of his death. The History Group is pleased to have made contact with Hunter’s granddaughter who is supporting the event.
Both Potter and Hunter are remembered on Exeter City’s World War 2 memorial at the St James Park Garden of Remembrance.