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Lionel Jeffries Pott.png

Lionel Jeffries (1926-2010) as the old soldier Grandpa Potts in the 1968 production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Here Grandpa Potts is in the process of being kidnapped by the minions of Baron Bomburst in this musical film adaptation of Ian Flemming's book.

Throughout the film, Lionel Jeffries' character wears the 1877-79 South Africa Medal which would naturally imply that Grandpa Potts was a veteran of the Anglo-Zulu War. For some reason, the medal's ribbon is reversed throughout the film so that the date on the medal's clasp cannot be seen. The fact that the ribbon is reversed even through costume changes indicates that this was for some reason a decision on the part of the production staff.

While in uniform Potts wears a light infantry badge on his foreign service helmet. This coupled with the Zulu War Medal would seem to have made Potts a former member of the 1st Battalion, the 13th Regiment of Foot which became the 1st Battalion, Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry). Whether this was a deliberate effort on the part of the production is hard to say.


Jeffries received a commission in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry late in WWII and served in Burma in 1945.  He also served as a captain in the Royal West African Frontier Force.

Black and White Production Still
8 inches by 10 inches (28cm x 18cm)
Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Great Britain

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