Remembering Frederick Hunter

Today, 6 May 2017, we remember Frederick Joseph Collymore Hunter, the Exeter City Chairman who died on this day 75 years ago after sustaining fatal injuries during the Exeter Blitz.

Frederick Hunter with the 1935-35 Exeter City squad

Frederick Hunter with the 1935-35 Exeter City squad

Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Hunter was a prominent local businessman with a special interest in cars. He was a director of Messrs. Pike and Co Ltd Motor Engineers and held gold medals from driving in the London – Edinburgh and London- Land’s End Runs.

Hunter had been a director of the club during the Thirties and became Club Chairman before the war.  As ever finances were a challenge for City and in 1939 Hunter said that if the position did not improve they would have to “put up the shutters”.

The Lieutenant Colonel was Commander of the 1st (Loyal City of Exeter) Battalion Devon Home Guard. On the night of the blitz on 4 May 1942 he was on fire watching duty in the garden of his home in West Avenue. He was seriously injured from a bomb attack and his wounded body was taken to a first aid centre on a door serving as a makeshift stretcher.

After initial treatment he was transferred to Exminster Emergency Hospital where he died two days later on 6 May.

Frederick is buried in St John’s in the Wilderness Church cemetery in Exmouth. Six majors of the Devon Home Guard acted as pall bearers at his funeral. The Club will be laying flowers on his grave this morning.

Frederick Hunter with his grandchildren, Felicity and Penelope (right)

Frederick Hunter with his grandchildren, Felicity and Penelope (right)

The Exeter City History Group is pleased to have made contact with Hunter’s granddaughter, Penelope Mountain, who is supporting the event.  Ironically Penelope, aged just two and a half, had been sent to her grandfather’s home in Exeter from London to avoid the blitz dangers in the capital. She was in an air raid shelter in the garden when Hunter was killed outside. The house was completely destroyed – “just a pile of bricks” she recalls.

Hunter is remembered on Exeter City’s World War II memorial at the St James Park Garden of Remembrance.

The grave of Fred Hunter

The grave of Frederick Hunter

 

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