At the end of October 2022 there was an unveiling ceremony for one of the new roads in the Hunters Chase development of Elmstead Market. “Peter Potter Way”, adjacent to “Lancaster Way”, was named in memory of Peter Louis Potter who lived in Elmstead for many years. Peter was a popular figure and some of his old friends, Lofty Tolhurst, Chris Stanfield and Ron Tickner, persuaded the developers, Hills Residential, to remember him in this way and to kindly sponsor the plaque.
Peter grew up in Fobbing before his farming family moved to Easthorpe, then on to Fingringhoe and East Mersea. He was in the Auxiliary Units, alongside his father in the Fingringhoe Patrol, until he was called up for the RAF, which he had volunteered for somewhat underage. He trained up as a rear gunner on Lancaster bombers with 626 Squadron based at Wickenby, Lincs. Peter completed his tour of 30 operations in the second half of 1944 and then worked in flying control until the end of the war. He was posted to Boxted Airfield near Colchester when it was handed over by the departing Americans, which is why he became a stalwart supporter of the Boxted Airfield Museum. Peter was a fireman in Colchester for several years and moved to Elmstead where he stayed through his retirement.
At the entrance to the new housing estate stands a plaque which depicts Peter’s Lancaster Bomber, taken from the painting by Great Bromley resident Maurice Clarke of Meadow Close. A fine, sunny day meant a good turnout for the unveiling of both this plaque and the road sign, with a number of short speeches made, including those by Sir Bob Russell who met Peter several times, Richard Turner from Boxted Museum, Dr. Hugh Frostick who helped write and published Peter’s fascinating biography, and Val Pryor, Peter’s eldest daughter, who then carried out the unveiling with her sister Syl Hopkins.
There is a video of the event made by Paul Desmond of Colchester Film Makers - it can be seen here on Vimeo.
Hugh Frostick's tribute is below:
"I first met Peter at Boxted Airfield Museum, and after he found we lived in neighbouring villages, and had a Secret Army connection, he asked me to help write and publish his book. It was a great honour to be asked to do that, and in the months that took I got to know Peter and Janet very well and we spent many happy days together. He introduced me to his family, including his younger sister Jean, and I was lucky enough to find out that she had an eligible daughter, Ann, who is here with me today! Peter was very chuffed to have been a match-maker.
Peter was delighted with his finished book, and having his tales properly written up for his last remaining years (see www.frostick.co.uk). Peter and his Dad also live on, at the website Staybehinds.com, which commemorates all the men and women of the Auxiliary Units, the Secret Army that he was in before his RAF call up.
I was privileged to be able to take Peter along to march, in a wheelchair, to two Remembrance Day Parades at the Cenotaph in London on behalf of the Auxiliary Units. With his RAF moustache and medals, and people waving to him, he loved every minute. Like many people, I continue to miss Peter’s great company."