October 27, 2021

Stanley Arthur (Gillie) Potter 1914 – 1978

Anthea Leslie tells us “My father left the Royal Liberty School Romford and in 1934 he became a sorter for the London Postal service before becoming a wireless operator for the Telegraph service where he moved around the south coast of England. Based at Niton Wireless station on the Isle of Wight he was very close to the site of Marconi’s first Radar transmission.

In 1987, at the time when Peter Wright published ‘Spycatcher’, our Uncle (John) Brian Harding, an RAF pilot who flew Spitfires during the Battle of Britain, met my sister, Gillian, and said he had something very confidential to tell her about what our father had done as he had worked for Peter Wright in the hunt for German spies and this might have been mentioned in the book. At the same time as he worked for Peter Wright Dad also worked in an ASDIC team developing Radar and he invented a Jammer to prevent the Germans intercepting our transmissions. In 1950 a colleague who visited us on the Isle of Wight told us they had each received £5 for designing the Jammer and that these mechanisms were in all Royal Navy ships.

Brian Harding told my sister that Dad had signed the Official Secrets Act-similar to those who had worked at Bletchley- and had never disclosed what he had done-except to Brian Harding- no one else knew. Not even his Naval colleagues. Dad said he had also been sent to Murmansk and had worked with the Indian Navy in 1942 on Radar installation in their fleet.

We have a document stating that he was a civil servant.  In 1939 he apparently joined the Royal Naval Reserve not actually joining the Navy until 1946.Throughout his life he was a Radio Ham with very sophisticated Radar equipment. We were intrigued to learn on a local news programme that a Jammer had been found  in a cupboard at HMS Hornet-where Dad had been based- which was similar to those developed at Bletchley. A prolific photographer- we have a box of photos of Anzio and his progression up through Italy to Rome- via Monte Cassino- alongside the Partisans.

He was awarded a Herbert Lott award- we are trying to find out more about this.

He was a keen yachtsman representing GB in the yachting team as crew to Bruce Banks in both the Helsinki Olympic Games 1952 and the Melbourne Olympics of 1956.

As a family we are very proud of our father’s achievements and that he kept his word by not disclosing any of this information- but we are frustrated not to be able to access the records to find out more about these teams and what they did to discover and develop Radar- in our lifetime.

 

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