Selasa, 02 Oktober 2012

The Real Harry Potter Graves Found in Israel

The family of a real life Harry Potter who was killed in the army claim that his grave has been turned into a tourist attraction by fans of the hit book and movie series seeking their fictional hero.

Private Harry Potter was serving overseas when he died in Israel in 1939 during an uprising.

His grave had gone unnoticed in the British Military Cemetery in the town of Ramla for more than half a century.

Landmark: Private Harry potter and the grave in Ramla, Israel which has become a tourist attraction with fans of the books and movies

But now the headstone has become an unlikely tourist attraction because of J K Rowling's much-loved books and movies.

Sightseers have had their photos taken next to the grave, while the local tourist board has listed it as an official attraction.

And even though Mr Potter, from Kidderminster, Worcs., would have led an active life in the army, it is far removed from the magic and spells of the fictional Harry Potter.

Pvt Potter's surviving family members have come forward to reveal the years of heartache they suffered after his untimely death.

Ken Potter, 77, was just six years old when his elder brother was ambushed and killed while driving back to a base near Hebron in Israel.

'Harry has never left our thoughts,' said the former greengrocer, from Kidderminster.

Wizard: Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter in film versions of the book, at the premier of the Deathly Hallows

'He is with us all the time, even though he died such a very long time ago.

'We were just young kids when it happened, all I was bothered about at that time was going and playing.

'But I remember a policeman came to our door to give mum and dad the news. They were very upset but we didn't really know what was happening.

'All I can really remember about Harry is one time him carrying me about by the fireplace.

'It was so long ago and I was so young, but I never forget his face." Fellow brother Derek, 82, also recalled their parents Edith and David, who had eight children, finding out about their son's tragic end.

'I can remember our parents being very upset but they kept it to themselves," said the retired carpet maker, also from Kidderminster.

'They kept the war from us because we were just kids, but you could tell something was very wrong.

'It was hard because a letter from Harry arrived the day after the policeman came to tell us.'

The poignant personal note read: 'Dear Mother, I am getting on alright. I expect to be home for Christmas. If I am not, it is a bit of bad luck.

'I hope dad is still in work. Tell Ken I am not forgetting his bike. I hope Alice (his older sister) is alright.

'You perhaps have been reading the papers.

'I am not boasting but listen to the news on the wireless and listen to what work we in the Worcester shires have been doing.

'Well, I think that is all for now.

'Cheerio, Crash Harry.'

The latest film in the blockbuster movie series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released two weeks ago.

The film is based on the book which was released in 2007 as the last in the series of novel about the fictional wizard at Hogwarts school.

Killed: Soldiers pay their respects at burial ceremony of the real life Harry Potter after he was killed during an uprising in 1939

A staggering 44 million copies of the book were sold around the world just eight months after it was published.

But despite his late brother and the boy wizard sharing the same name, Ken admits he has never watched the films.

'I've seen bits of them fleetingly on the TV but I have never properly watched them," added the dad-of-two.

'Actually, I never really twigged that Harry shared the name with the film character.

'It was my sister's son who first found out about the interest in his grave about three years ago while on the internet.

'We couldn't believe people visit his grave, but apparently they come from miles around to have their photo taken next to it.'

The real Harry Potter left his family's home in Kidderminster to join the army in Birmingham in 1938.

The 17 year-old lad was desperate to serve his country, so lied about his age, telling the recruiting sergeant he was a year older.

He spent eight months training with the 1st Battalion Worcestersire Regiment in Aldershot, Hampshire, before being ordered to Palestine in September 1938.

His unit was garrisoned in the area to battle an Arab uprising, and Pvt Potter was a driver in the Motor Transport section, where he gained the 'Crash Harry' nickname.

During spring 1939, he was based at Deir Sha'ar, near Hebron. On July 22 of that year he was driving back to the camp in convoy when they were ambushed by armed bandits.

Soldier: Private Harry Potter in his army uniform a short time before before he was killed

Pvt Potter and fellow soldier Pvt Joseph Darby were killed in the attack. But despite being given the tragic news soon after his death, it would be 50 years before the family found out the exact circumstances.

Ken, married to wife Shirley for 56 years, said: "About 15 years ago a fella came into the shop and said he was with Harry when he died.

'That was how we finally found out what had happened.

'He said Harry had been shot by a Shot sniper during the attack while they were driving back to the base.

'We had not known exactly what had happened to Harry until that day. The chap was old when he came to see me and has probably died now, but it was only through him we knew how Harry died.'

Brother Derek is still the proud owner of Harry's campaign medal from the Palestine conflict. Two more of Harry Potter's siblings are also still alive and well in Kidderminster.

His sister Joyce is 88 years old, while youngest brother Ray, 75, has named his pet dog Harry after his long lost brother.

And there is one other spooky link to the boy wizard. Harry's father David acquired a scar on his forehead, just like the fictional character, while in the trenches during the Great War.

Ken added: 'Dad had a scar on his forehead from the First World War.

'He was shot across the forehead when he was in the trenches. They operated on him and put a metal plate in his head.

'He was never the same after he came back from the war." As for visiting Harry's grave, none of the family has been able to make the journey, despite an invitation from the town's mayor.

Ken, who served in the Korean War with the Enniskillen Dragoon Guards while doing National Service, added: 'The mayor of Ramla did once invite us to visit.

'We would love to go, but things just kind of trailed off and we didn't hear any more.

'I know Ramla can be a bit of a dangerous place, so I'm not sure if we will ever be able to see it.

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