jueves, 24 de agosto de 2017

Heroic secret life of teenage British WWII spy who was sent to live in Nazi-occupied France and flown back to report directly to Churchill is revealed following his death aged 93

John Potter (pictured) was smuggled into France
by submarine in 1942, taking on t
he identity of a dead Frenchman









    • As a teenager, John Potter was smuggled into France via a submarine in 1942
    • He took on identity of a dead Frenchman to set up resistance groups in Europe
    • Mr. Potter was regularly flown back to Britain to meet with Sir Winston Churchill
    • He kept his spy career hidden from his family for 50 years before telling his wife


    The heroics of a Second World War spy who went undercover in Nazi-controlled Europe have finally emerged following his death at the age of 93.
    As a teenager, John Potter was smuggled into France by submarine in 1942, taking on the identity of a dead Frenchman to set up resistance groups.

    Mr. Potter, who kept his spy career secret from his family for 50 years, was regularly flown back to Britain to meet with Winston Churchill.

    The Prime Minister would then give him a glass of brandy before sending him back to Saint-Flour in France, where his mission was to protect several villages.
    Following the war, he witnessed the horrific scenes of the Dachau concentration camp, near Munich in Germany.

    He also assisted during the Nuremberg Trials, becoming a confidant for chemists responsible for the production of lethal gas.

    His wife, Mildred, said her husband had to keep horrifying experiences secret for 50 years before he was finally able to tell her about it.

    Mrs Potter, 79, of Worthing, West Sussex, said: 'I met John in Vienna, Austria, in 1973 and we got married three years later.

    'I said to him one day that, because of his age, he must have been involved in the war in some way.


    John Potter and his wife, Mildred, in Paris during 1972.
    The spy was regularly flown back to Britain during the war to meet with Winston Churchill

    'He told me he was and that he was part of the army, but that he couldn't tell me any more than that at the moment because he had signed the Official Secrets Act.

    'He said to me that one day he would be able to tell me all about his experiences.
    'I forgot about it over time, but then we were on holiday in Spain when he said to me one day that the 50 years was now up.

    'Initially, I wasn't sure what he meant, but then I realised he meant he was able to talk about what he had done in the war.


    'He told me he had been unable to join up with the army properly because he had a club foot when he was younger.

    'John had been privately educated and wanted to defer any military service so he could continue studying maths and chemistry at London University.

    'He was asked to attend a meeting one day, during which he told about his desire to defer but when he got there he was asked to sign part of the Official Secrets Act.

    'He was then asked if he would go to France and replace a teenager who had been killed and report back to Britain on what was happening.


    'He was just 18 when he was asked to do this and couldn't tell anyone about it, not even his family.'

    Mr. Potter was dispatched to France on a submarine, before being smuggled to Saint-Flour by the French Resistance, where he assumed his place in his new family.

    When Churchill decided the reports he was receiving from France were not good enough, he brought Mr. Potter into a select group of informants, whom he would meet with personally.
    Mrs. Potter said: 'John said Mr. Churchill was a real presence - he could really get things done.

    'John needed ammunition dropped into his village, not just for them but for others nearby as well, and no one was sorting it. When he told Winston about it, he was able to sort it within days.

    When the war ended, Mr Potter returned to Britain where he completed his studies at London University and spent the rest of his life working in chemistry
    When the war ended, Mr Potter returned to Britain where he completed his studies at London University and spent the rest of his life working in chemistry
    'Every time he went to see him, Winston always gave him a brandy before he went off again and wished him luck.

    'The last time he visited Winston it was before D-Day and he said: 'You have done so well for all this time.'

    During his time in France, Mrs. Potter said her husband was able to ensure he never lost a man until one of his force was shot by an American at the end of the war in 1945.

    After Mr. Potter demanded the US soldier face a court martial, General Omar Bradley of the US Army instead asked John to join them and assist them liberating towns and camps in France and Germany so that no further mishaps occurred.

    Mrs Potter said: 'He joined the Americans as they swept through France and Germany to help them identify SS soldiers - the Americans couldn't tell the uniforms apart.
    'The SS soldiers were obviously trying to hide and John knew how to tell them apart from others.

    'He was there when they liberated Dachau concentration camp and he said the smell and sights were just horrific.

    'In his later years, he suffered from dementia and one day I came home and he was just sat in tears.

    'I asked him what was wrong and he just said 'it is terrible, it is awful', he was remembering seeing those terrible scenes.


    Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4781350/British-WWII-spy-sent-live-Nazi-occupied-France.html



    Learn more about Nazism and Holocaust by reading: 

    "The Nazis and Evil: the Annihilation of the Human Being" 


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