A socially distanced street party to remember VE Day in Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 May 2020

Eric Porter, who served in a decisive battle, after which the Germans surrendered. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

Eric Porter, who served in a decisive battle, after which the Germans surrendered. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

CONTRIBUTED

A socially distanced street party with bunting will be held in Landscape View, Saffron Walden to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day on Friday.

A socially distanced street party with bunting will be held in Landscape View, Saffron Walden to mark the 75th anniversary of (VE) Day on Friday.

Remembering with particular poignancy will be the family of Eric Porter whose last mission was in Malabergo northern Italy, just before the decisive Battle of Bologna, soon after which the Germans surrendered.

Eric served in the Middle East and, right at the end of the war, he fought in crucial battles in Italy. He never applied for his medals. They only arrived last year, after his son Matthew sent for them, sending off his service record. Eric died aged 93 on December 21, 2017.

Eric was born on May 13, 1924, in Debden Road, Saffron Walden, the third of four children to Rose and George Porter.

He grew up in Saffron Walden and went to the Boys British School.

He was a solid student and keen sportsman, who remembered his school days fondly (apart from receiving the cane).

Eric volunteered for the RAF in November 1942, serving with 37 Squadron as a flight engineer, first flying Vicars Wellingtons then converting to B24 Liberators in late 1944. Part of his job was to maintain the aircraft in flight.

He was stationed in Palestine, Egypt and Italy, where he discovered a love for opera. His travels took him to Australia. Eric loved being in the RAF. He often talked about his experiences and described being in the RAF as the best adventure of his life.

By the time he was demobbed in November 1946, he had flown 24 operational sorties.

Back in civilian life, he worked at an electrical repair and servicing shop in Saffron Walden, going to Cambridge Technical College on day release.

Once qualified, he rented a shop in Market Hill, which he bought in 1959.

Eric was married twice, first to Dorothy in 1952, with Robin born in 1955, and then to Anne in 1974. Anne died a year later from breast cancer when Matthew was four and his sister Rachel only six months.

The children were brought up with the help of their grandmother, Rose.

Matthew remembered: “My father taught us important life skills including not to judge people by appearances.”

Eric who is survived by his three children, sister Iris and five grandchildren will be remembered in Landscape View by Matthew, his wife Karen and son George aged nine.


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