Athlete - "Black Swan Song" (British Legion Poppy Appeal)

This song, from the latest album of one of my favourite bands, has been released as a single with all proceeds going to the British Legion Poppy Appeal for war veterans.

This lovely song was inspired lead singer Joel Potts Grandfather Major John Pott who died in 2006 but was seriously injured at the Battle of Arnhem in 1944. The video is simple (obviously made on a low budget), but movingly effective. It was filmed at the spot where Major Pott lay injured for 20 hours, during which time he wrote a letter to his wife. See below for more info.


In 1943 he joined the Parachute Regiment, where his brother-in-law Lieutenant Colonel John Frost DSO MC was commanding the 2nd battalion. He was soon to become famous for holding the bridge at Arnhem and was played by Anthony Hopkins in the film A Bridge Too Far.

John Pott, also at Arnhem, was commander of A company in 156 Battalion which was in the 4th Para brigade. When they were dropped on Ginkel Heide on Monday 18th September, there were many immediate casualties as SS men shot at them as they descended, but there no casualties in A Company.

Dawn of Tuesday 19th September and 156 battalion had a clear objective - to capture the Koepel an area of high wooded ground which was heavily defended by the enemy. Once this was achieved 156 battalion could join with 1st Para Brigade to help John Frost on the bridge - John Pott of course had a high personal incentive to get to his brother in law. Lt Col des Voeux selected Johns A company to lead the attack. The Koepel was separated from the fields below by a main road out of Arnhem. On that day it was also the main German defensive line. It proved to be an attack against all the odds and only John and a few men managed to get through the German defences and well into the trees.

Continue the story at:


On the same web page there is a personal testimony of his own faith given by Major Pott to fellow Arnhem veterans in 2002. It is moving, powerfully heartfelt and wonderful in its clear-minded devotion and love of God. See below.

'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.

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