December 18, 2012
Charlottetown, Frederic Thornton Peters, Lieut. Gerald Hamilton Peters, Operation Reservist, Operation Torch, Peters, Royal Navy, The Bravest Canadian
Frederic Thornton Peters, Fritz Peters, Narvik, Oran
Capt. Frederic Thornton “Fritz” Peters wasn’t just a man of action. As evidenced in his letters home and in the quotes below, he was well-read, knowledgeable of history, articulate and had a wry sense of humour.
“ It is not given to every man to be so fortunate as to fight for his country.”
– September 1914
“I have a deep and I hope true love of Canada and perhaps some small idea of its future greatness and an undying firm belief in the absolute need of unity in the Empire.”
“I pray God I fall in the same manner with my face to the enemy.”
– 1916, after the death in battle of his brother Gerald.
“A death in action — surely if we are judged for the vast eternity by this brief mortal span — must be something.”
“There is only one thing — the King and Empire.”
“Death is nothing compared to dishonour.”
“Forget all you saw or heard in the last war. This is hell, but I still have my sword sharpened.”
– after the Battle of Narvik, 1940
“I am probably going to be killed, but it’s worth it.”
– October 1942
“This is my meat. I don’t feel my best until I smell the smoke of battle.”
– steaming towards Oran, Algeria. November 7, 1942
December 17, 2012
By Sam McBride
Many thanks to the staff at Touchstones Nelson – Museum of Art and History for hosting the launch on Saturday, Dec. 15 for “The Bravest Canadian – Fritz Peters, VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars”.
A steady stream of interested Nelsonites came by to see the exhibits of photos, comics and news articles related to the book, and chat about Fritz Peters and the book. I was pleased to sign more than a dozen books that were bought during the launch.
Fritz’s mother Bertha Gray Peters died 66 years ago, but three of the visitors at the launch remembered her in Nelson back in the 1930s and 1940s. She was well-known about town – particularly among bridge players – until about 1935 when she became an invalid restricted to her bedroom as a result of a fall down stairs.
Many of the questions from visitors at the launch related to the comic in “The Victor” series of comics in Britain in May 1962 that tells the story of the Victoria Cross action of Capt. F.T. Peters. These comics were a popular item — particularly among young boys — in Britain at the time, but they never came to Canada. I only became aware of the Fritz Peters comic when my cousin Pam noticed it at the Ashcroft Gallery of the Imperial War Museum in London, England. She put me in touch with the rights holder for The Victor comics in Scotland.
December 5, 2012
Charlottetown, Frederic Thornton Peters, Oak Bay, Operation Reservist, Operation Torch, Peters, Royal Navy, The Bravest Canadian, Uncategorized, Victoria Cross, war heroes
Dewdney, Eisenhower, Frederic Thornton Peters, Fritz Peters, Nelson, Oran, Plymouth, Touchstones, Victoria Cross
Sam McBride, author of “The Bravest Canadian – Fritz Peters, VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars” will launch the book in Nelson, British Columbia on Saturday, December 15th.
He will be in the lobby of the Touchstones Nelson – Museum of Art and History at 502 Vernon Street in Nelson from 1 pm to 3 pm.
While Capt. Frederic Thornton “Fritz” Peters never lived in Nelson himself, his mother Bertha Gray Peters and his sister Helen Dewdney and her family resided in Nelson from 1929 to 1969. Previously, they lived in the nearby West Kootenay communities of New Denver, Rossland and Trail as Helen’s husband Ted Dewdney was transferred around the region to manage branches of the Bank of Montreal.
After Capt. Peters’ death in an air crash near Plymouth, England in November 1942, a delegation from President Roosevelt and General Eisenhower came to Nelson in February 1944 to officially present the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross medal he earned for action in the harbour of Oran, Algeria to his mother Bertha Gray Peters as next-of-kin.
In 1946, a mountain on the west edge of Nelson was named Mount Peters in his honour. Since then, Helen Dewdney’s children and descendants have donated a number of artifacts and photographs to the museum and archives in Nelson, mostly related to the Hon. Edgar Dewdney, builder of the Dewdney Trail, who was Ted Dewdney’s uncle and legal guardian after Ted’s parents died when he was 11.