A memorial ceremony is being held at his grave today at 3pm.Today we remember Albert ‘Darkie’ Potter a former Exeter City player who was killed in the Exeter Blitz on this day 75 years ago.
Potter was a local lad born in Exeter in 1897. He served in the First World War signing up for the 8th Devons when aged just 16. In 1915 he was wounded in France before returning for more active service in Mesopotamia where he was involved in the battle for the relief of Kut in 1916. He had a month on leave in India in 1918 and finally arrived back in Devon the following year.
On his return Albert was spotted playing for Pinhoe and signed for City in 1922. A left half, he made his League debut in 1924 and went on to make 89 League (3 goals) and 5 FA Cup appearances for the Grecians – truly 'one of our own'.
Playing highlights for Exeter included:
- A Boxing Day goal in a 3-0 win over Plymouth Argyle in front of 14,000 fans at St James Park in 1924.
- Scoring in a 6-1 home win over Brentford in 1925 and in a 2-2 draw at Luton in 1927
- Being part of the City team that beat Ajax 5-1 in Amsterdam in 1925. A newspaper report described Potter as ‘de spil’ – the lynchpin.
- Playing in City’s 1924-5 FA Cup run starting against Newport at Ashton Gate, Bristol in a 5th Qualifying Round 2nd Replay (won 1-0). City reached the first round proper away to Southampton. Potter played and Exeter were losing 5-0 when fog descended and the game was abandoned. City lost 3-1 in the replay four days later, Potter again appearing.
- Having to change in a tent before the FA Cup at home to Swansea in 1925. The grandstand had burnt down just eleven days before the game.
During the war Potter was an Air Raid Warden and it was while on duty where he lived, in Shakespeare Road, Burnthouse Lane, that he was killed in heroic circumstances on 4 May 1942. Despite the ongoing blitz Albert went to help at a neighbour’s house where a new born baby had arrived. He was hit and died the same day from his injuries in the RD&E Hospital in Southernhay. He was only 44.
Albert is buried in the cemetery at All Saint’s, Whipton and the Supporters Trust History Group has liaised with the Whipton Community Association who have kindly given the grave a spring clean. His Air Raid Warden colleagues provided an inscribed dedication “In remembrance of a gallant warden”.
A memorial ceremony is being held at the grave today at 3pm. All are welcome to attend. Potter’s daughter Pam Goodrich said “The family are very proud of their link with Exeter City and are really pleased that my father is being remembered by the Club. We are looking forward to visiting Exeter for the event”.
Pam, who was seven at the time of her father’s death, was given a holiday in Belgium by the City Council and in 1949 was visited in the new family house by Princess Elizabeth, now The Queen. Pam even managed to secure the Princess’s autograph.
Potter is remembered on Exeter City’s World War 2 memorial at the St James Park Garden of Remembrance.