Major Robert Laslett John Pott

 

Unit : "A" Company, 156th Parachute Battalion

Army No. : 95241

Awards : Member of the British Empire, Military Cross

 

John Pott was born in Khartoum on the 14th July 1919. After attending Sandhurst he was commissioned into the Kings Own Royal Regiment on the 1st July 1939, with whom he served in India (where he met and married Diana Anna Frost - John Frost's sister - in July 1941), Iraq and the Western Desert, where he was wounded. He joined the Parachute Regiment in 1943, in Palestine. His passionate devotion to his religion was well noted, and Pott was occasionally the target of some light hearted ridicule, not least because it was rumoured that he was in direct radio contact with the Almighty.

 

'My first sight of a parachute drop was when 156 Parachute Battalion landed ahead of 1 King's Own during Exercise TOUGH on Cyprus. All the colours of the container 'chutes made a thrilling blossom. Had war retrieved some of its glamour at last? Soon John Buck's kit bags took over from containers, thank goodness! After the second drop on the same long exercise, I was flown back to Palestine with the Battalion for parachute training. This was thoroughly sensible with excellent R.A.F. instructors - no jumping out of the backs of trucks and no balloons. We trained on Hudson aircraft, which had a rather small door, and low tail planes, which always seemed bound to hit you as you jumped - but never did because you were still travelling at the aircraft's speed as you began to fall. Again my memories of Ramat David D.Z. in the plain of Esdraeilon are always of the glorious colours of real blossoms. The spring flowers of the Land of Israel are very lovely indeed.'

 

'I was an umpire on my first exercise with 156, a night drop near the SE end of Lake Galilee. As morning came and the exercise ended, I took out my Bible, knowing we must be near Gadera, where the Lord Jesus let the demons, who were tormenting Legion, go into a herd of pigs; so I was surprised to find ourselves on a flat plain. I had always visualised the pigs rushing down a hill into the lake; but as I got nearer to Lake Galilee, I could see clearly what happened. The plain ended in a cliff, maybe 10 foot high at the water's edge. The herd panicked and went straight over the edge. Unlike the two British pigs of recent fame, they evidently could not swim!'

 

'I have little recollection of how we moved to a camp among the olive groves of Tunisia mid-way between the Frenchified coastal town of Souse and the Arab town of Kairuan. The nearest troops to us were 504 Combat Team of 82nd U.S. Airborne Division, a very fine crowd. My 2i/c (of 'A' Company), Jack Sylvester, ran the battalion boxing team, and fixtures were arranged with them. Our chaps loved going to their camp to fight under their rules; ref' in the ring and as much noise during bouts as you like. But when they came to us they had to cope with the rules as they were for British Amateur Boxing in those good old days: quiet-spoken referee and two judges sitting at the ringside, and dead silence during bouts. The Doboys had their trucks as grand-stands behind the officers sitting on camp chairs at the ringside. Silence during bouts was a severe test of discipline for the poor Yanks, and one could hear them near bursting. Finally one exploded, and his officer turned round and said: "Say soldier! Do you want to dig holes?" There was no sound after that. We were most impressed.'

            "Hey, Butch, what's that about digging holes?"

            "That's the one summary punishment of an American subaltern officer:

            dig a hole six foot by six foot by six foot - and fill it in again."

 

'We had just one airborne exercise in Tunisia, which I remember because no one saw my 'chute open - my seventh jump - there was that untidy bundle flapping above my head, which no amount of shaking rigging lines would undo. "Well, Lord, here we come - feet and knees together" - and then I was sitting in a melon field, out of sight of the R.V.; so without checking my 'chute I doubled up there to find everyone asking "Who was that poor blighter who candled over there?"'

 

'About that time, our much loved Colonel Dicky Des Voeux was seen taking his gammy leg for a run. He had said to me "John, that Piers St Aubyn of yours - I am afraid he drinks too much."

            "I really do not think so, Sir, though his rather foppish way of talking sometimes gives that impression. He certainly runs his platoon very well." Soon the order came; "All ranks cross country run - and woe betide anyone failing to come in before the Colonel." I was toddling along among the field when I was dismayed to hear the unmistakable dot and carry step of the Colonel not far behind, and the field suddenly ceased to toddle. To my delight Piers came in first.'

 

'Not long before the invasion of Sicily, we had a visit from Monty. Originally, 156 had come from India in Bush hats with a neat little blue and white cloth badge. Then our cherry berets arrived, but no Parachute Regiment badges, so everyone wore the badges of their parent regiments. When Monty arrived, he signalled us to crowd round his jeep, while he looked over us with his piercing eye, saying: "Yes - all the badges - all the badges of my 8th Army." It was an excellent pep talk, but 4th Parachute Brigade was sad at being left out of the invasion of Sicily. Worse was to come when our Divisional Commander, General Hopkinson, came and spoke to the whole Battalion and said; "I am sorry to tell you that I have no airborne operation for you in the foreseeable future, though you will be used in the invasion of Italy. You see I have no planes - no planes at all."'

 

'The immediate result of this declaration was that two of my best soldiers of the Rifle Brigade commandeered a jeep, and drove all the way via Tripoli in Libya and Ben Ghazi, to Tripoli in Syria to rejoin their Regiment, which was then fighting the Vichy French. On their arrival their C.O. awarded them 7 days C.B. and sent them into action.'

 

'All in good time we were lifted from our olive groves in the biggest trucks we had ever seen, to Bizerta, where we boarded the U.S. Navy ship Borsoi bound for Taranto. The luxury of that ship after our dusty tents was stunning. We were joined by two huge crates of airborne bicycles - rather horrid things which folded in half, until secured by a large butterfly nut, a constant threat to anyone without a sporran. Many were damaged beyond repair, so Jack Sylvester was detailed to sort them out, consigning the failures to the deep. We equipped as many of 'A' Company as we could, since we were to be the advanced guard on landing. We had a good view of the Italian fleet on its way to surrender.'

 

'One of my concerns as O.C. Company was that that Company's pay had been issued in BAFFs, which we were told could not be used in Italy, and would be exchanged for lire. Sensible pay officers paid the BAFFs to the troops as soon as they could; but this silly man, putting his men first, held on to the haversack of notes expecting to exchange it for lire at any moment - until he realised that someone had stolen it. I never heard of any other officer losing a whole company's pay without being court martialed, so perhaps I should make it into the Guinness Book of Records. I cannot remember what the Court of Enquiry made of it.'

 

'The first impression of Taranto as we landed was of the appalling smell of a cinema that had been bombed with a full house inside, and not dealt with. Then the commandeering of transport was our priority. The Hon. Piers St Aubyn and 4 Platoon took over a huge blue bus and trailer, and followed the Recce Squadron up the road to Motola. Next came John Buck on a three wheeled motor cycle with a box on the back for his stretcher bearers. I persuaded him to take our signaller with his heavy set, while my 'O' group and I hung on behind with our wobbly little bikes. I got the signaller to sit on my hand. The rest of the Company peddled along as best as they could. We passed a wrecked Recce Squadron jeep as we neared Motola - an unforgettable reminder of the cost of their covering our advance. Perhaps the enemy thought it was a Sunday school treat coming up the road, as 4 Platoon were able to get to a convenient debussing area without hindrance, and we all shook out as we arrived. Colonel Dicky called his 'O' group, and as I got up to go, a mortar bomb landed at my feet, but it must have been faulty as it just split into two bits, neither of which came my way. Motola looked formidable on the top of its hill, but we had some useful smoke, and the enemy seemed ready to go. As we reached the village, the whole population flooded into the streets cheering and bringing jugs of rough wine. I was not T.T. as I am sure the Lord Jesus was not; but I had avoided drinking with my own soldiers up to that day. Then my batman, Rotherham, came up with a jug. "Come on, sir, this will do you good." And it certainly did.'

 

'Our next battle was centred on a farm called Castellanita. On this occasion the Colonel's 'O' group worked its way forward through vineyards to get a better view, when we met a German patrol. Fortunately they were not keen to do battle, but we all took up fire positions ready to use our revolvers as recently taught by Grant Taylor, the veteran of American gangland, who had been employed by our Brigadier, 'Shan' Hackett, to teach his officers to use the revolver most effectively. As the Colonel gave his orders we all guzzled grapes, and "any questions" were punctuated by pip-spitting.'

 

'A' Company was assault Company, while Support Company and the guns of 'B' and 'C' Companies gave covering fire. It went according to plan, and as we left the vineyards to go down the forward slope, everything opened up. I just said "Father", and experienced a deep peace inside, and the ability to get on with the job. Crossing the deep gully, and climbing up towards the farm, I realised that we had suffered casualties, and that too many of their comrades were risking their lives in the open to help them, instead of leaving it to the stretcher bearers. 4 Platoon had quite a scrap in a little wood on the left; but as the rest of the Company reached the farm, several young Germans from a parachute unit seemed keen to give themselves up.'

 

'We consolidated as night closed in, and after checking our sentries, I went back with a few men to clear the battlefield, collecting our two dead. It was late and dark when I got back to the farm, and Rotherham met me. "Here you are, sir, just the place for you," as he shone a torch on a pile of straw, where I slept warmly till dawn came. The strengthening light revealed the source of my central heating; two huge oxen towering on either side of me - really magnificent beasts with wide-spreading horns.'

 

'Not so long after that, we were digging in in a very rocky area, when we heard that "No planes - no planes at all" had been shot through his beret, after being warned not to look over a certain wall. Months later, when we were back in the U.K., Monty visited us before D-Day. The whole Brigade was formed up in a hollow square at Oakham. Instead of his usual black beret, he was wearing a maroon one which was too big for him. He began his talk by saying how proud he was to wear the beret of our late Divisional Commander, still pierced by the bullet that killed him in action with us in Italy. It is doubtful if any of us remembered much of what followed.'

 

'General Hopkinson was succeeded by Ernie Down, a great soldier, who gave me an imperial rocket for ineffective digging in our rocky position. Soon afterwards, he gave a thrilling talk to all officers on how he intended fighting the Airborne battle with the closest air support to make up for lack of artillery. "I know" he said, "I know it all." What a contrast to "No planes - no planes at all"! Had he been still with us at Arnhem, I am sure the result would have been very different; but sadly he was soon posted to the Far East.'

 

'As the Allies swept on beyond Bari, we got rather left behind; but 'A' Company did get involved in one other little operation. We were asked to provide a boarding party for a Royal Naval destroyer which was ordered to capture a German supply vessel working for their troops along the Dalmatian coast. It was great fun and most impressive to see and hear the Senior Service in action; but what I most remember was the agility of Rotherham, as he leapt aboard and was up on the bridge of our quarry in seconds. Inevitably, I soon needed another batman on his promotion.'

 

'I have few memories of our voyage home, except that our engine drivers from 156 Battalion drove our train down to Taranto. The journey by train from Liverpool to our billets in Uppingham was wonderful, not only for the joy of being home again for Christmas for the first time since the day War was declared; but also for the positively blooming good health of all the people we saw on the way, especially the children. Rationing and the discipline of wartime must have done us quite a lot of good!'

 

For his action during the 156th Battalion's assault upon the farm, at San Basilo on the 11th September 1943, John Pott was awarded the Military Cross.

 

What follows is Major Pott's account of A Company's assault upon the Dreijenseweg at Arnhem on Tuesday 19th September. Much of it was written whilst Pott was a Prisoner of War in 1944/45, but it is a reflection upon A Company's action and not a personal account, and as such some details of his own involvement have been omitted. During the assault in the woods, when the Company was coming under heavy fire and being ripped apart, Pott saw Sergeant George Sheldrake who had been wounded whilst trying to drop a mortar into a half-track. Given the nature of the action, he said that he was unable to take him with him, but assured him that he may be picked up by the remainder of the 156th Battalion if a fresh attack came, or if not then he would soon be found by the Germans. The duration of what followed has, Major Pott believes, been somewhat exaggerated because to the men who heard him it seemed to endure for minutes, but Pott is certain that it was more like 20 seconds. With complete disregard for his own safety, amidst all the gunfire and mortar explosions, he stood up over the wounded men and spoke the following to them before leaving: "I am sorry that I have only led the Company to death and pain; but remember there is another Commander Who is "The Way, the Truth and the Life", and I am committing you into his hands as I leave you now. Lord Jesus watch over him, please."

 

An Account of the Action of 'A' Company 156 Battalion The Parachute Regiment 18/19th Sep 44

 

'After the drop on the Ginkelheide, on the afternoon of 18th Sep, most of the Company reached the rendezvous. Few were involved in the skirmishes on the NW end of the DZ. However, before the Battalion moved off, the Company suffered the damaging loss of 3 Platoon, which was detailed to look after some wounded and prisoners. This platoon had of course trained with the rest of the Company for years, and its replacement during the night by a platoon of Glider Pilots whom we had never seen before, still left the Company much reduced in fighting strength.'

 

'During the night of 18th, the Battalion moved Eastwards along the North side of the railway, till the leading Company ('C') bumped a firm enemy position East of Wolhesen. During the exchange of fire a stray bullet killed 'A' Company clerk, Pte Tansley - a man we all loved and respected for his gentleness and cheerful efficiency.'

 

'The C.O., Lieut Col Des Voeux, then withdrew the Battalion to a firm base with the aim of renewing the advance, after seeing where the enemy were.'

 

'At 0500 hrs 19th September the C.O. returned from Brigade H.Q. with information that 2 Para on the Bridge were hard pressed, and that we must get to their assistance without delay. Order of march C, A, B Coys.'

 

'On arrival at a point below the ridge on which 'C' Company had met opposition during the night, we identified the K.O.S.B.s on the near slopes to the left of our line of advance - in the area of Johanahoeve (944653). The C.O. gave orders for 'C' Company to attack and consolidate the right and centre of the ridge, covered by fire from 'B' Company South of the railway, while 'A' and 'B' Companies were to prepare to capture the next two ridges respectively. 'C' Company took their objective without opposition on the ground, though they were under fire from some houses on their left flank.'

 

'Battalion H.Q. and 'A' Company moved up onto the reserve slope of this ridge, in preparation for further advance. O.C. 'A' Company and the C.O. went to 'C' Company position to reconnoitre for this advance, but the country was thickly wooded and nothing useful could be seen. At this point the Brigadier came up and impressed the need for speed in getting to the Bridge.'

 

'A few minutes afterwards, 'A' Company with one 6 pounder Anti tank gun attached, and a platoon of Glider Pilots in lieu of 3 Platoon moved forward on either side of a woodland ride (our start point must have been the track junction 948651) towards its objective, the Lichtenbeek (956652). The Company moved in the order 4 Platoon (Lieut Stan Watling), tac H.Q. (Major John Pott), 5 Platoon (Lieut David Delacour), Glider Pilots (Captains Muir and Smith), Company 2nd in command (Captain Terry Rodgers) with the anti tank gun and remainder of Company H.Q. Our first bound was to be the road (954652). As they neared the road, the trees thinned somewhat, and 4 Platoon came under heavy fire from 2-3 L.M.G.s sited just West of the road. They went into the assault at once and gained the line of the road; but they seemed to be getting stuck in the ditches beside the road, so the O.C. decided to do a left flanking attack with 4 Platoon and the guns of 5 Platoon as fire group, and the Glider Pilots and riflemen of 5 Platoon in assault.'

 

'Soon after 5 Platoon guns opened fire, Lieut Delacour shouted that he was hit but could look after his guns; so his rifle groups came under command of Sergeant Gilmour. The Glider Pilots were delayed in forming up for the assault by fire from their left which killed Captain Muir, so the O.C. took the assault in without them. It went as intended, destroying Germans on either side of the road; but half-tracks were firing down the road from the right, and the ditches on either side were death-traps. However as the assault neared the bushes where they were, the half-tracks withdrew to a position East of the houses (955649). All attempts to stalk them were foiled with loss to ourselves.'

 

'The Company was now badly placed : 3 Platoon still not available; most of 4 Platoon huddled in roadside ditches with many casualties and Lieut Watling killed as he led his riflemen to join the assault East of the road; Captain Terry Rodgers killed as he led mopping up operations just East of the road; the guns of 5 Platoon with Lieut Delacour now dead, CSM with the 18 set and the Glider Pilots still to the West of the road. The assault group - mostly 5 Platoon - with the O.C. were trying to close with the half-tracks without L.M.G.s or P.I.A.T.s; so Pte Carney was sent back to report the situation and hasten the arrival of the guns and P.I.A.T.s of 4 and 5 Platoons. Ptes Bremner and Trueman brought an L.M.G. from 4 Platoon, but Trueman was killed as they tried to get covering fire onto those half-tracks. Sergeant Sheldrake took a 2" mortar team into a house on our right to attempt to drop a bomb into them, but he shortly returned bleeding and without the mortar.'

 

'Seeing no sign of any follow through by the rest of the Battalion, and being involved in a futile shooting match with German infantry, who were using stick grenades, supported by half-tracks; the O.C. decided to move with all the men he could muster to the top of his objective with the aim of digging in there. To his surprise, this move North Eastwards through scrubby woodland was not hindered by the enemy; but before much digging could be done, a German officer was seen about 250 yards to the East, studying us through binoculars. Against orders - though I doubt if it affected the outcome -, he was shot at and wounded. Soon after an estimated platoon of the enemy attacked through a scrubby area to our left. We held fire till their leading troops were about 20 yards away, when we charged them, and they ran away, leaving five wounded, and an MG 34, which was put in position to meet the next assault; but we now had little ammunition, and few were unwounded.'

 

'When the next assault came in about half an hour later, the O.C. hoped to make another sortie at close quarters, to roll up their assault line from our right, with the idea that once we were among them, they might run again, and would not be able to fire without hitting each other. However, when the moment came there were only six men left to do it, and the O.C. was felled by a bullet through the left femur and right hand as he closed with the enemy. So 'A' Company's effort ceased at about 14.30 hrs. Sgt Sheldrake and other walking wounded were led away prisoners, but others managed to get to cover and lie up. Some hours later, the O.C. having been left where he fell by the Germans - after removal of anything lethal -, called to see if there was anyone else about. Almost immediately, his batman Pte Scott, L/c Constant, Ptes Braithwaite and Cheshire appeared through the bushes. After they had collected some jackets from dead men to keep the O.C. warm for the night, they were sent to try and make their way back to the Battalion.'

 

'The above account is made from notes made in prison camp, compared to other sources; but most accounts of 156 Para Battalion, do not give credit to 'A' Company having got across the road - never mind having reached its objective, and held it for over an hour. It attempts to be a statement of what the Company did, rather than tell a personal story.'

 

Unable to walk, Pott was left behind as the young Germans who had captured him, marched away the remainder of his men. The German Lieutenant who commanded the platoon said to him: "Sorry we can't see to you now; but your chaps will be back soon anyway". The Lieutenant's words made Pott wonder some time later, if this man's pessimism as to the state of the German defence was the general consensus of opinion amongst his peers, "Had we cracked the Dreijensche Weg line and got through to Koepel and collected the supply drops of food and ammunition, would the Germans have broken?". The 4th Para Brigade did not succeed in breaking the blocking line, and so Pott was not picked up and so sat alone in the woods for the next eighteen hours. Suspecting he would meet his fate here, he did his best to write a farewell note to his wife with his uninjured left hand, but on the following day he was discovered by two Dutchmen who carried him to the nearby Mill Hill Fathers' house. Some time later he was captured, and was the only one of six officers to have survived the attack mounted by A Company and the Glider Pilots.

 

John Pott wrote the following to the Arnhem Veterans' Club in 2002.

 

Arnhem 1944 - A bridge to the future - Arnhem 1994

 

'What a superb slogan for this time of commemoration!'

 

'Arnhem '44 has already proved to be a great bridge in many ways. The obvious one is surely the wonderful relationship between Dutch and British peoples, fostered by years of communal ceremony and individual hospitality by the citizens of Arnhem. Most remarkable, because the arrival of the 1st Airborne Division caused them untold suffering without bringing liberation.'

 

'Second, I am sure that the part played by local school children in the annual service at the Oosterbeek Cemetery, must be of inestimable importance to them at an impressionable age and must help to span the generation gap at a time when young and old need each other, and to understand one another. How much the project at Presikhaaf School must have helped in this over the last two years!'

 

'Each veteran and each citizen of Arnhem will identify other chasms in their lives which have been bridged as a result of the Arnhem '44 experience. I would like to tell you of some in my own life.'

 

'First, my wife and I have long abiding friendships with Dutch families. They include some of those connected to the Dutch Underground stretcher party led by Rob Van Embden with Koenders, the Polman brothers and Rob Roell who picked me up from the Lichtenbeek about 20 hours after I was wounded; Doctor Van Gulik who first set my leg, and three Dutch families who have stayed with us simply because we always watch for Dutch visitors at our Church.'

 

'Next, I was sheltered for some hours at the Missie Huis Frijland by the Mill Hill Brethren, a Roman Catholic order. While the enemy occupied the Missie Huis, Father Le Feber kept me hidden in a shed while finding a doctor. Later, after my capture in an Arnhem Hospital, I was moved to a German Military Hospital at Gronau, where most of the nursing staff were Franciscan Sisters. Having been brought up as a Protestant in the Church of England, and having come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour through Evangelicals, it had not always been easy to regard Roman Catholics as my brothers and sisters in Christ. So God put me in their gentle hands during my captivity. Since then it has been my aim to show love for those with whom I may have to differ in some particulars of belief.'

 

'Another vital factor has been the comradeship established with those of the Airborne Forces who shared the battle experience. It has certainly deepened over the years and bridged any barriers of rank or class, reaching into many families. One incident brought this home to me for ever. I was being escorted from Gronau Hospital to Oflag 79. On the way we stopped for a few hours at Stalag 11B, and I suddenly found myself in a room full of 'A' Company men, mostly wounded. The mixture of joy and sorrow was altogether too much for me. I just wept, as I realised how many suffered from my failure to provide covering fire.'

 

'While I was in Gronau, the only other officer in the hospital after the first week or two, was Oberst Werner Elfering. Back from the Russian Front with a shattered shoulder, he and his wife treated me kindly, and suffered some unwelcome attention from the Gestapo as a result! Our lasting friendship with the Elfering family, and the memory of the kindly doctors and sisters at Gronau has provided a strong bridge over the chasm of hatred for the German people, though our loathing of Nazism remains as strong as ever! Since one of the three bridges over the Rhine at Arnhem is now named after my famous brother-in-law, John Frost, I cannot fail to refer to his post war contacts with German soldiers. I know that many Dutch people found this unacceptable, but to read his books must lead to an understanding of this part of his inspiring life. Before Arnhem, on the battlefields of North Africa, he had known the comradeship which grows between mutually respected enemies. I think he felt that the awful atrocities committed by the Germans in the world wars were seldom the work of the fighting soldiers, but of the jackals at their heels. When I was myself over-run by a very youthful German Company as I lay on the Lichtenbeek, those boys gave me a very welcome drink of water. I have claimed God's blessing on them ever since.'

 

'Such valuable Bridges over past obstacles! Racial barriers, religious intolerance, Rank and Class, hatred of enemies. Praise God for these bridges, which lead to such rich blessings.'

 

'But what of the future? I, my comrades and the Dutch who suffered with us, will soon be dead. Will those bridges decay with us? I doubt it.'

 

'However there is one more great chasm which we have not yet mentioned, and the only Bridge which spans it is not only the Bridge to the future prosperity of Britain, the Netherlands and everywhere else. It is the one way for each of us to travel from a state of helplessness amid all the sin, suffering and death of this world to a Life in tune with the true God, Who is Love. The Bridge is the Cross of Christ. What hope can there be amidst all the personal and communal suffering of the present, and of all the hurts of history, unless our Creator loves us enough to suffer with us? There is no way to defeat sin in our world and our lives apart from the power of His blood shed on that Bridge. Jesus proclaimed Himself the Way, the Truth and the Life. He rose from the dead, and countless people have found Him very much alive today. They have passed over the Bridge of His Cross, not waiting until they die or until they make themselves better, quite impossible, but while they are still in the midst of all the stress and pain of life on this trouble planet. They have admitted defeat and begun to know the true God; and that is eternal Life starting here.'

 

'Have you noticed that most of these bridges are founded on personal relationships? This is an essential factor in regard to the Lord Jesus. I do not ask if you belong to a Christian denomination or attend Church; but do you have a personal relationship to the Lord Jesus?'

 

'You may be one of my generation with not much time to make peace with God. You may be doing lots of good for the Arnhem Veterans' Club and other charities, but have you loved God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength - His first command? So, if you have still failed to make you peace with Him, I beg you, in Christ's Name to delay no longer. What more can He do to prove His love for you?'

 

'Or you may be a young person with all your life before you. Do not waste it! Start enjoying real Life with Jesus now. I received Christ into my life just before my 17th birthday, 58 years ago, and I have never regretted it. Though I have failed the Lord Jesus countless times, He has never failed me. He saved me on my seventh parachute jump, when I never saw my 'chute open.'

 

'If He spared my life on 19th September 1944, when so many better men than I went to glory, it is surely my duty to share the news of this great Captain of our Salvation. I pray that you may make certain that you have crossed His BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE AND ETERNAL LIFE.'

 

After returning to the UK from Oflag 79, John Pott continued to be involved with the Parachute Regiment until he retired to Inverness-Shire, Scotland, in 1972. In later years he was awarded the MBE. John Pott died in 2006.

 

Thanks to John Pott for radically improving this biography of himself.

 

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