Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC*

Frederick Thornton Peters (17/09/1889 – 13/11/1942) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during Operation Reservist,  an attempt to capture Oran Harbour, Algeria during the Second World War. 

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 36019 Page: 2215  reads:

“The late Acting Captain Frederick Thornton Peters, D.S.O., D.S.C., Royal Navy,
For valour in taking H.M.S. Walney, in an enterprise of desperate hazard, into the harbour of Oran on the 8th November, 1942. Captain Peters led his force through the boom towards the jetty in the face of point-blank fire from shore batteries, a Destroyer and a Cruiser. Blinded in one eye, he alone of the seventeen Officers and Men on the bridge survived. The Walney reached the jetty disabled and ablaze, and went down with her colours flying”

On 8 November 1942 Captain Peters, commanding in Walney, led his force through the boom towards the jetty in the face of point-blank fire from shore batteries, the sloop La Surprise, and the destroyer Epervier. Blinded in one eye, he alone of 11 officers and men on the bridge survived. Besides him, 13 ratings survived Walney sinking. The destroyer reached the jetty disabled and ablaze and went down with her colours flying. Captain Peters and a handful of men managed to reach the shore, where they were taken prisoner. Hartland came under fire from the French destroyer Typhon and blew up with the loss of half her crew. The survivors, like those of Walney, were taken prisoner as they reached shore.”

The survivors were released on 10 November 1942 when the French garrison surrendered. While coming back to Britain, Captain Peters was killed when the Sunderland he was on crash landed in Plymouth Sound in thick fog on 13 November 1942. His body was not recovered.

He is Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, panel 61 column 3

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