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Much loved Second World War veteran dies, aged 98

PUBLISHED: 06:31 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:34 12 June 2020

Leonard Potter (centre) at last November's Remembrance Sunday ceremony at Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

Leonard Potter (centre) at last November's Remembrance Sunday ceremony at Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

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A Second World War veteran has died at the age of 98 on the anniversary of the Normandy landings.

Leonard Potter with his Legion d'honneur medal and citation from the French government at his home in Hunstanton  Picture: Elaine BirdLeonard Potter with his Legion d'honneur medal and citation from the French government at his home in Hunstanton Picture: Elaine Bird

Leonard ‘Lenny’ Potter, from Hunstanton, worked as an electrician in the RAF maintaining airfields.

After D-Day Mr Potter helped dismantle captured German bases as the Allies advanced, removing supplies with the help of prisoners of war.

He returned to Hunstanton after the war, where he worked for an electrical company before joining the Air Ministry, which he worked for until he retired in 1984.

Last year, he was belatedly awarded the rank of Chevalier in L’ordre national de la Légion d’honneur by the French government, for the part he played in the liberation of France.

His citation read: “We must never forget heroes like you who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France.

“We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were willing to risk your life.”

Mr Potter had earlier been awarded a similar accolade by the Dutch government.

He was applauded at last year’s Remembrance Sunday ceremony at Hunstanton war memorial when he was helped from his mobility scooter to lay a wreath.

His daughter Camille Gathercole from Brooke, near Norwich, said: “He used to go to the United Services Club and they always used to ask him to lay the wreath because he was the oldest surviving veteran.”

Mrs Gathercole, 74, said her father was a well-known and much-loved character in Hunstanton.

“Every time I’ve rung people to tell them the news they’ve said what an interesting character he was,” she said. “Everyone’s got a story to tell about him.

“At the age of 70, he learned to fly. He’s always loved boats, fishing, sailing. He taught his grandchildren to sail.

“He loved collecting cockles and mussels, he did a bit of painting and photography. He got his first quad bike aged 90, before he had to resort to a motorised scooter.”

Mr Potter died at Driftwood House in Hunstanton on June 6. His wife Joyce pre-deceased him at the age of 90 in 2013.

He leaves a daughter, Camille and three grandchildren.


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