Dominique Edgard Antoine Potier (1903 - 1944)
On 28 September 2002, I received a request from a man who had been given my address after contacting Christopher Long's website. He claimed to be the natural son of a dead Belgian MI9 agent named Dominique Potier - could I tell him anything about his father? I had a few references to Potier in the literature - Neave and Verity for instance - but nothing very useful. I asked some friends and fellow researchers what they knew about Potier - and the answers that came back suggested he had been a very special man indeed.

Dominique Edgard Potier (he preferred to be known as Edgard) was born 2 November 1903 in Seraing-sur-Meuse, Liege. On 25 July 1928, as an Artillary Second Lieutenant he married Ida Clementine Martin at Florenville in the Belgian province of Luxembourg and on 20 June 1929, they had a daughter, Josiane. On 8 August 1935 he obtained a degree with grand distinction as an Engineer in Aeronautical Construction at the Free University of Brussels.

In May 1940 Ed Potier was Capitaine-Commandant of 7e escadrille in the Belgian airforce flying the Fairey Fox biplane and later moved to Tours. He left France in December 1941, travelling via Spain and Lisbon, and on 26 March 1942, arrived in England where he joined the RAF. He was considered too old for combat flying and soon seconded to MI9. His boss, Airey Neave, was later to describe him as "a man of piety and conscience … one of the bravest of all the agents under my charge".
Photograph courtesy of Fred Greyer
According to her diary, which was written in French shorthand and only recently deciphered, Potier met Marjorie Amis in Lisbon. Marjorie was an English girl who had been living in France but who had also left the country via Spain and Portugal, arriving at Poole in Dorset the same day as Ed Potier - presumably on the same flight from Lisbon via Shannon. On 28 January 1943, Marjorie Amis gave birth to a son and Dominique Edgard Antoine Potier signed the birth certificate as the baby's father - both parents were then living together in Bromley Road, Beckenham in Kent.
On the night of 15/16 July 1943, Potier was parachuted into a landing site at Suxy, near Florenville in the Belgian Ardennes, as Commandant Nollet or Martin along with Canadian radio operator Conrad LaFleur (Charles Nicolas) to set up the POSSUM escape line. LaFleur had been one of the commandos at Dieppe, had escaped along with Robert Vanier and Guy Joly, and left France via the PAT O'LEARY escape line and Operation TITANIA from Canet Plage the night of 21 September 1942. Potier had been trained as a landings officer and their mission - Operation MARTIN/POSSUM - was to receive allied airmen from the Belgian COMETE escape line and arrange to have them evacuated - some by sea from Britanny and others by air direct to England.
On 16 November 1943, Potier was returned to England by Lysander along with five evading aircrew in the same Operation MAGDALEN II that delivered Lucian Dumais and Ray Labrosse to set up their very successful SHELBURN escape line from Brittany.
On 20 December 1943, after writing a last letter to Marjorie, Potier returned to France. He was parachuted in once more, landing near Fismes, about 23 kms west of Reims, along with ex-COMETE courier Baron Jean de Blommaert and a Belgian wireless operator Albert (Louis London) LeMaitre.
On 29 December, Conrad LaFleur was transmitting from 161 rue Lesage in Reims with Raymonde Beure as his watcher - she was also a highly regarded courier - when the SIPO (Gestapo) arrived. The two escaped after something of a battle (accounts vary about LaFleur's tactics with references to guns and grenades) but in the confusion Mlle Beure left her purse behind. In the purse were some photographs and a number of addresses as well as the key to a room at the local hotel Jeanne d'Arc.
There followed a bizarre series of events: Raymonde Beurre had a jealous fiancé named Raymond Jeunet who suspected Raymonde of having an affair with Conrad LaFleur. He had been expecting a call from Raymonde that evening and when she failed to call he travelled from his home at Fismes to Reims. He was recognised (perhaps from the photographs found in Raymonde's purse) arrested by the Germans on arrival and found to have a photograph of Raymonde with him. He was then taken around the city and the picture of Raymonde shown in all the hotels they visited until a receptionist at the hotel Jeanne d'Arc admitted Raymonde had booked two rooms there. The first room was empty but a M Duchesnes alias Edgard Potier was found in the second room and arrested.
Dominique Edgard Potier died on 11 January 1944 after torture by the Gestapo at Reims. "Il a subi des sévices d'une gravité telle qu'ils ont entrainé la mort" was the elegant official phrase used after the war but actually, he committed suicide to avoid betraying any of his friends after extensive and brutal interrogation. He threw himself from a third-floor window and died three hours later in the hospital at rue Cognacq-Jay 43 in Reims. He was buried at the Cimitiere du Sud de Reims. One report says he was originally buried naked but secretly reinterred in a proper coffin a few days later.
On 24 August 1950, Potier's remains were exhumed from Reims and on 18 September 1950, Major d'Aeronautique Dominique Edgard Antoine Potier was reburied with full military honours in the Brussels-Evere Cemetery. Today he lies in Grave 35, Plot IV at La Pelouse d'Honneur des Aviateurs Belges. His gravestone says he was shot - Fusillé - in order to avoid problems with the Roman Catholic chaplain who officiated at the commital.
On 1 November 2002, Dominique Edgard Potier's English son was able to visit his father's grave for the first time - he was accompanied by the son of another Belgian airforce officer who had also escaped to England and returned as an agent, only to be captured and killed by the Germans. The two officers had been friends in life and now rest close to one another.

All credit for the above information (and much more) goes to Fred and John in London,
Michael in Ontario, Eric in Reims, Nadine in Brussels, Roy in Blegny-Saive and Andre in Lasne