“The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters VC“ author tour in P.E.I., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Sept. 25 to Oct. 5, 2013

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by Sam McBride 

I am very pleased to announce a book promotion tour for “The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars“ in the Maritimes Sept. 25 to Oct. 5, 2013.   The tour includes 10 events in eight cities and three provinces.


Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown – noon to 1 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 25 – Charlottetown Bookmark store, book signing

Charlottetown – 11 am to noon, Saturday, Oct. 5 – Charlottetown Indigo store, book signing


New Brunswick

Fredericton — 3-4:30 pm, Friday September 27 – Chapters Fredericton store, book signing

Moncton — 12-2 pm, Saturday September 28 – Chapters Moncton store, book signing

Saint John — 12-2 pm, Sunday September 29 – Indigo Saint John store, book signing


Nova Scotia

Halifax — 12-1:30 pm, Tuesday October 1 – Chapters Bayers Lake store, book signing

Dartmouth — 2:30-4 pm, Tuesday October 1 – Chapters Mic Mac Mall store, book signing

Halifax – 7:30 pm, Tuesday, October 1, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic presentation

Truro — 12-1:30 pm, Wednesday October 2 – Coles Truro Mall store, book signing

New Glasgow — 3:30-5 pm, Wednesday October 2 – Coles Highland Square Mall store


I am particularly pleased to be in the events program of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, one of Canada`s great museums.  I went through the museum in 1992 and was very impressed. Lots of interesting stuff on the Cunards, the Titanic, Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy.   I am going to talk about Fritz Peters`  Maritime heritage, including the Peters, Grays and Cunards who were all United Empire Loyalists or descendants of Loyalists, and prominent throughout the region.  http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mmanew/en/home/whattoseedo/programsandtours.aspx

In February 2013 the book received a Heritage Award from the Prince Edward Island Museums and Heritage Foundation, and in June 2013 it won first prize in the British Columbia Genealogical Society`s Family History Book Awards.

Books are available at bookstores across Canada, or through amazon.ca, amazon.com or amazon.co.uk, or through the publisher at http://www.granvilleislandpublishing.com.

If you have suggestions for the book tour or comments on the book, I would be very pleased to hear from you.  Email BravestCanadian@shaw.ca or Twitter @BravestCanadian.



MP publication features Fritz Peters book

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Many thanks to Alex Atamanenko, Member of Parliament, British Columbia Southern Interior, for promoting “The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars“ in his recent newsletter to constituents.

plug in MP newsletter 001

Fritz Peters’ Future Nephew Landed in Sicily 70 Years Ago

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By Sam McBride
While this blog generally focuses on my mother’s uncle, Capt. Frederic Thornton “Fritz” Peters, VC, DSO, DSC and bar, DSC (U.S.), RN, my thoughts today are on heroes on my father’s side of the family — specifically, my dad Leigh Morgan McBride and his brother Kenneth Gilbert McBride, who both grew up in Nelson, British Columbia and served as officers with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada regiment in the thick of much of the heaviest fighting of the Italian Campaign of 1943-44 .


Leigh McBride, 25, in 1942.

Exactly seventy years ago, on July 10, 1943, Leigh hit the beach at Pachino on the southern tip of Sicily as part of the massive Allied invasion of Sicily. A year earlier he had enlisted immediately after graduation in law at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant at the Gordon Head Military Camp in Victoria, and then went to Currie Barracks in Calgary where he was commissioned as a lieutenant in November 1942.

In mid-November1942 Leigh returned to Nelson for a short period before heading overseas for further training in Britain. While in Nelson he met up with his friend, fellow law student and fraternity brother Frederic Hamilton “Peter” Dewdney, who signed up with the Royal Canadian Navy along with his close friends Hammy Gray (future recipient of the Victoria Cross) and Jack Diamond at about the same time that Leigh enlisted in the army. Peter’s decision to opt for the navy was largely influenced by the family tradition established by his uncle, godfather and namesake Fritz Peters. Peter never met Fritz, but often heard stories of him from his mother Helen, who was Fritz’s older sister, and a very close friend during their childhood in Charlottetown and Victoria. In the summer of 1942 Fritz was already famous for his heroic exploits in the First World War, as well as earning a bar to his British Distinguished Service Cross for anti-U-boat action on modified trawlers early in the Second World War.

uncle ken

Kenneth Gilbert McBride (1920-1944)

As it turned out, Peter trained at Royal Roads in Victoria at the same time that Leigh was training at Gordon Head. Peter served through the war on motor launches in anti-U-boat service off Canada’s east coast. Peter also knew Leigh’s brother Ken, but was closer with Leigh because they were the same age, and Ken was three years younger.

In 1948 Leigh would marry Peter’s younger sister Dee Dee. In 1952, after the death of her husband Ted Dewdney, Helen came to live with her daughter Dee Dee McBride’s family. As a result, when I was growing up in Nelson the walls were filled with framed photographs under glass of Helen’s brothers Fritz Peters, Jack Peters and Gerald Peters, as well as Leigh’s brother Ken McBride – all of whom died in the two world wars.
Leigh also never met Fritz Peters, though he trained in Scotland near where Fritz had trained a few months earlier, and he was in North Africa en route to the invasion of Scotland just a few months after Fritz’s memorable bravery in Oran, Algeria.

Ken was in the midst of studies at the University of British Columbia when he enlisted, following in his older brother’s footsteps as an officer with the Seaforths. Ken was not in Sicily, but joined the fight in mainland Italy and was immediately in heavy action against top quality German forces who used Italy’s rugged terrain to full effect in holding g off the Allied invaders.

The story of Leigh and Ken McBride’s unforgettable exploits in Italy – and Ken’s tragic death in action – is told through scanned images of photographs, letters, news clippings and army documents that can be viewed either through the Seaforth link at http://seaforthhighlanders.ca or my personal blog in May 2013 at http://www.sammcbride-bc.blogspot.com.