AS local historian Andrew Phillips put it so eloquently when he reviewed Hugh Frostick’s book, biographies very rarely these days turn their attention to the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.

And when it comes to a life well lived, they don’t get much more extraordinary than Peter Potter.

Peter, who lives in Elmstead Market, is an RAF veteran whose revealing and sometimes risqué tales range from Essex farming and village life, wartime service on Lancaster bombers, working in a mental asylum, and as a fireman in Colchester.

It’s all jammed packed inside Great Bromley author and publisher Hugh Frostick’s book, Tales of Peter Potter, which is the result of Hugh sitting for many hours listening to and recording Peter’s stories.

Hugh says, “I started my writing with a series of short memoirs for a community magazine when I lived in New Zealand. I made friends with an octogenarian there, originally from the East End, who could certainly tell a tale.

“Then when I returned to the UK and moved here I carried on writing history articles for my local magazine in Great and Little Bromley. I often wished I could make a living out of my hobby, and now I am.”

He certainly struck biography gold when he met up with Peter.

“It was a chance meeting with Peter at Boxted Airfield Museum,” Hugh adds, “that made this book happen. Peter had been looking for someone to print his stories for family and friends. I agreed to take this on and soon realised how many marvellous stories he had

“I really admired his great memory for fascinating detail even after so many years had passed. I decided to go the whole hog and spent many months getting Peter’s book just right whilst I set up my own publishing house.

Hugh continues: “Peter gives a wonderful feel for how he and his family lived and worked at Fobbing on the Essex marshes and the industrialised Thames, before moving to farms at Easthorpe, Fingringhoe and East Mersea.

“Then when war came, he ran away from home to volunteer for RAF Bomber Command, leading to many exciting episodes in Churchill’s Secret Army before completing a tour as a Lancaster rear gunner.

“There is also a fascinating chapter told by Peter’s sister, Jean, who played an interesting part in the Connie Kent Skeleton Mystery in Fingringhoe and had her own theory about what happened.”

Hugh is now hoping Peter’s story will be the start of a whole raft of memoirs.

“I’m currently working on two other books of memoirs,” he says, “and I’m always looking to take on further commissions to write people’s stories either for family or publishing.”

Tales of Peter Potter is available online from, from Red Lion Books in High Street, or online in the usual places. Keep an eye on Hugh’s publishing website for forthcoming book signings.