100 Years Since the Battle of Dogger Bank where Fritz Peters Earned His First Award for Valour

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by Sam McBride Frederic Thornton “Fritz“ Peters received his first medal for valour in the Battle of Dogger Bank exactly 100 years ago on January 24, 1915.   It was the Distinguished Service Order, second in rank only to the Victoria Cross, which he would earn 27 years later for an attack on a heavily-fortified port in Algeria.   However, several men who witnessed his heroism at Dogger Bank felt he really deserved the Victoria Cross for that action rather just the DSO.

11 friz in 1918 chap 6

Fritz Peters as a newly-commissioned officer in 1912

German warships had been shelling the eastern coast of Britain, hoping to draw out British warships so they could be attacked by u-boats.  The conflict led to a chase in the North Sea at Dogger Bank above Denmark, about half way between Britain and Germany.  It was the war’s first significant battle between British and German warships in the North Sea. Lt. Fritz Peters, 25, was first officer of the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Meteor under Captain Meade.   The speedy Meteor was setting up to torpedo the slower, but much larger, German cruiser Bluecher when it was hit by one of the last rounds from the cruiser before it sank – an 8.2-inch shell that caused extensive damage to Meteor’s engine room.  With incredible calm and coolness, Lieut. Fritz Peters rushed to the engine room – a scary place of fire, scalding water and boiler explosions when damaged in battle – and made it safe.  In the face of  leaking oil in the engine room threatening to explode, he was credited with saving the lives of two ratings and perhaps many more on board if there was an explosion or bursting of the boilers.  Another report said he also pushed an unexploded shell overboard.

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DSO medal

For these actions, Fritz was the first Canadian in the Great War to receive the DSO medal, second in rank only to the Victoria Cross as a British honour for bravery in battle.  It was the highest honour bestowed in the aftermath of the Dogger Bank conflict.  He initially received a Mention in Dispatches for the heroism, and then on March 3, 1915 King George the Fifth presented him with the DSO medal. Writing from the Ypres front to his brother Gerald in Montreal on March 11, 1915, Private Jack Peters said:  “I suppose you know about Fritz winning the D.S.O. and being mentioned in dispatches.  Won’t Father and Mother be tickled to death!  I dare say he is quite satisfied, but I should think that it certainly should help his promotion a lot.“  Gerald wrote to his mother Bertha in B.C.: “How proud you must be about Fritz.  I got your letter and Aunt Florence’s on the same day telling me of it.“ The one person Bertha did not hear from regarding the DSO was Fritz himself.  He detested boastfulness and self-promotion, and never raised the topic of the DSO unless asked.

In early 1918, Peters received the Distinguished Service Cross for heroic anti-U-boat action, and then 22 years later, in 1940 in the Second World War, he earned a bar to his DSC for sinking two U-boats.   For anyone else, this would have been an extraordinary record, but there was more to come for Fritz Peters.    At age 53 he earned the Victoria Cross for leading the attack on Oran Harbour in the Allied invasion of North Africa at 3 am on Nov. 8, 1942.   For the same action, American General Eisenhower awarded him the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross which, for non-Americans, was the equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor as the highest award for valour against enemy forces. There is video on You Tube of the Battle of Dogger Bank , including footage of the Bluecher sinking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2tQgvmE8s8

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Prince Rupert newspaper report

front of 1914 Christmas card

front of 1914 Christmas card

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Citation for DSO in Royal Navy records

Confederation-related quotes from Col. John Hamilton Gray

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The following quotes from John Hamilton Gray are from “Prince Edward Island and Confederation 1863-1873“ by Reverend Francis W.P. Bolger, St. Dunstan`s University Press, 1964.

Speaking during discussion of Maritime union in the P.E.I. House of Assembly, April 18, 1864, Gray said:  “If the Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were to be annexed to Prince Edward Island, great benefits might result to our people; but if this Colony were to be annexed to these Provinces, the opposite might be the effect.  …We are here to maintain our rights, and we shall never enter a Union which will deprive us of this birthright.”

Speaking at the final banquet of the Charlottetown Conference September 8, 1864, Gray was prophetic when he expressed the belief that the Charlottetown Conference “would serve as the harbinger of such a union of sentiment and interests among the three and a half millions of freemen who now inhabit British North America, as neither time nor change could forever destroy.”

Oct. 10, 1864 at the Quebec Conference, Gray said “When I spoke of establishing a nationality I only referred to what has been the dream of my life to be one day a citizen of a Great nation extending from the Great West to the Atlantic seaboard.  I sincerely hope that the delegates from all the Provinces will unite to accomplish this great work.  Prince Edward Island is but a small province but it could be to the other provinces all that the little state of Rhode Island is to the great American Union.”

At Ottawa following the Quebec Conference Gray concluded a glowing tribute to the proposed union with the hope that all the people “would soon have their territory washed by the Atlantic at Halifax and by the Pacific at Vancouver Island.”

On Nov.16, 1864 Gray addressed an appeal to the people of Prince Edward Island that was published in all the newspapers:  “Shall we form part of a great nation extending from Halifax to Vancouver, as citizens of which our sons will reach distinction and carve out for themselves fame and fortune… It is a question of life or death to Prince Edward Island.  I pray to the most high God to direct your decision.”

Gray speaking in the 1865 Assembly Debates:  “We (PEI) have little prospect for the future beyond a dwarfed existence and ultimate absorption into the neighboring Republic.  One of these must be chosen, the other rejected – there is no alternative.  Yes, Mr. Speaker, federation or annexation is what we must regard as our future.”

In a letter to his close friend John A. Macdonald dated June 27, 1866, Gray said  “I much regret that all the endeavours of the friends of Confederation in this Island have been unsuccessful, and I have little hope that our people will change, and if Imperial Authorities do not legislate for us Prince Edward Island is lost .”

As it turned out, the PEI government decided not to join New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Upper and Lower Canada in the new country of Canada in 1867, but PEI did join Confederation six years later in 1873 when the Government of Canada assumed the colony`s railway debts and agreed to finance a buy-out of the last of the colony’s absentee landlords.

Describing Gray, the author Bolger said: “Colonel Gray was a man of outstanding honor.  He was universally respected on account of his integrity in the conduct of public affairs.  He was deeply religious and served for many years as an Elder of the Presbyterian Church on the Island.  His training as a soldier endowed him with an unusual amount of courage and tenacity.  When convinced of the rightfulness of a policy, he would not consider compromise.  When Confederation became the issue in Island politics, Colonel Gray unhesitatingly sacrificed political popularity and the emoluments of office in its furtherance.”

Sculpture of Two Col. John Hamilton Grays Will Commemorate 150th Anniversary of Historic Charlottetown Conference

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by Sam McBride

Very pleased to hear that a bronze sculpture of Capt. Frederic Thornton Peters` grandfather Col. John Hamilton Gray will be erected on Great George Street in downtown Charlottetown as part of the celebrations in Prince Edward Island of the 150th  anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 which set the stage for the birth of Canada three years later.

The contract for the sculpture has been awarded to Vancouver Island artist Nathan Scott, who did two Terry Fox sculptures in B.C., among other projects.

The sculpture will depict interaction between two Fathers of Confederation named John Hamilton Gray at the time of the Charlottetown Conference in September 1864.  By great coincidence, there were two non-related men of the same name. – one in New Brunswick and my ancestor in Prince Edward Island.   By further coincidence, both men were known as “Colonel Gray“ — the P.E.I. Gray because he was a retired British Army officer, and the N.B. Gray because he held the rank of Lt. Colonel with the New Brunswick militia.   The two men were also direct descendants of United Empire Loyalists – the P.E.I. Gray from Virginia and the N.B. Gray from Massachusetts.

The P.E.I. Gray was host and chairman of the historic conference, while the other Gray was one of the delegates from the neighboring colony New Brunswick.  Both Grays were strong supporters of Confederation at a time when most of the politicians in their colony were against it.   The N.B. Father of Confederation J.H. Gray later went to parliament as an MP, but the P.E.I. Father of Confederation J.H. Gray resigned as leader of the government when his colleagues changed their minds and opposed Confederation.   P.E.I. later joined Canada in 1873 to overcome a financial crisis associated with railway debt, but the former Premier Gray`s attempts to re-enter provincial politics were unsuccessful.

The lifespans of the two Grays were quite similar.  The N.B. Gray was born in 1814 and died in 1889, while the P.E.I. Gray was born in 1811 and died in 1887, a couple of weeks before his granddaughter Helen Peters Dewdney was born, and two years before the birth of grandson Frederic Thornton “Fritz“ Peters, who would become one of Canada`s greatest war heroes, and the subject of my book “The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars“.   Though Fritz never knew his famous grandfather, the stories he heard of him from his mother and aunts were strong factors in Fritz choosing a military career and considering going into politics.

Col. john Hamilton Gray, c. 1864

Col. John Hamilton Gray of Prince Edward Island, c. 1864

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Col. John Hamilton Gray of New Brunswick

The P.E.I. Gray never ventured West, but the N.B. Gray moved to Victoria, B.C. in 1872 to serve as a judge on the B.C. Supreme Court.   He is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, not far from the gravesite of the P.E.I. Gray`s son-in-law Frederick Peters and granddaughter Violet Peters.   Established in 1873, the Victorian-style Ross Bay Cemetery has the graves of numerous frontier B.C. politicians and celebrities.  The P.E.I. Gray rests in Sherwood Cemetery, which today is very close to Charlottetown Airport, about three miles north of the city.

The new sculpture is in keeping with P.E.I.`s program to develop its history-oriented tourism industry.   Tourism in P.E.I. has increased substantially in recent years, largely due to the island province becoming a popular stop for cruise ships.

For further details of the statue project, view the links below.

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-08-21/article-3358604/John-Hamilton-Gray-to-live-again-on-Great-George-Street/1

http://www.timescolonist.com/island-artist-nathan-scott-lends-talent-to-project-on-p-e-i-1.705881

http://www.sculpturebynathanscott.com/blog.html

 

 

 

Author of “The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars“ Interviewed Today By Radio Station in Winnipeg, A City Justly Proud of Its Valour Road

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by Sam McBride

Earlier today it was my pleasure to be interviewed by Dahlia Kurtz of AM680 CJOB Winnipeg regarding my book on Capt. Frederic Thornton “Fritz“ Peters. The live interviews were broadcast in two segments between 2 pm and 3 pm Central Time.

Dahlia read the book and was amazed by the incredible life of Fritz Peters, including three major awards for valour in both world wars, service with the Secret Intelligence Service, and surviving hundreds of threats to his life in wartime as well as between the wars in frontier Ghana in central Africa. Several times she asked: “Why don`t we know about this great Canadian hero?“

She noted that Winnipeg is particularly interested in Victoria Cross stories because of its distinction of having three Victoria Cross recipients who grew up on the same street, within a block of one another. In 1925, Pine Street in Winnipeg was renamed Valour Road in recognition of the courage of three young men who all lived on the 700 block of the street. Corporal Leo Clarke, Sergeant-Major Frederick William Hall, and Lieutenant Robert Shankland each received the Victoria Cross for acts of bravery during the First World War.

http://www.cjob.com/dahlia/

Maritimes Book Tour Generates Surge of Interest in the Story of War Hero Fritz Peters

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by Sam McBride

My two-week book tour through the three Canadian Maritime provinces was a wonderful experience, and exceeded all expectations in publicizing “The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars“ throughout New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as well as Prince Edward Island, where Fritz was born and his story is best known.

It was a thrill to meet so many people who came by my book signing sessions and either bought copies of the book or expressed interest in Fritz and the book.  These included several current members of the Canadian military, as well as relatives who told me about the heroes of their own family.

I particularly enjoyed meeting several third cousins for the first time, as well as leaders of the PEI Genealogical Society, the New Brunswick Historical Society and the Cunard Steamship Society who I have corresponded with extensively in the past, but not met in person.   Extremely pleased that my enthusiastic supporter in St. John`s, Newfoundland, Dr. David Peters,  came to my presentation at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, and we had a good chat afterwards.

Several people I talked to noted that next year, 2014, will be present opportunities to raise awareness of the Fritz Peters story across Canada. These are 1) the 150th anniversary of the historic Charlottetown Conference, in which Fritz`s family had a central role; 2) the centennial of the start of World War One, where Fritz Peters earned three major honours for valour; and 3) the 75th anniversary of the start of World War Two, where Fritz again received three awards for valour, including the Victoria Cross and the highest medal of the United States.

I have attached scans of a sample of print publicity from the book tour, and the links below have some, but not all, of the TV, radio and social media coverage.  I did about 10 interviews by phone before i travelled, and then about another dozen while in the Maritimes between September 24th and October 5th, 2013.

 

http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1013315&binId=1.1145463&playlistPageNum=1

http://thechronicleherald.ca/book/event/1154374-the-bravest-canadian-fritz-peters-the-making-of-a-hero-of-two-world-wars-by-sam-m

https://www.facebook.com/myWaterfront

http://www.armyrats.com/posts/tag/battalion/

http://www.news957.com/category/listen/rick-howe-show/page/2/

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/Maritimes/ID/2408922242/

https://twitter.com/ns_mma

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front page of Moncton newspaper, with long story on inside pages

 

 

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from PEI events BUZZ

 

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one of many newspaper listings publicizing the book tour events

 

Strong Maritime Heritage of Fritz Peters, VC

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Canada has many war heroes, but the only one to receive multiple awards for valour in both world wars, including the highest honour of the Victoria Cross, is a true child of the Maritimes: Captain Frederic Thornton “Fritz“ Peters, VC, DSO, DSC and bar, DSC (U.S.), RN.

Born in Charlottetown in 1889, Peters has a special place in the hearts of Prince Edward Islanders as the only P.E.I.-born Victoria Cross recipient, but he came from a family which also has an extraordinary impact on the history of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Three sides of his family were United Empire Loyalists who stayed loyal to King George the Third in the American Revolution, and had to move en masse to the Maritimes after the victory of the rebels. Both of Fritz`s grandfathers – Col. John Hamilton Gray and Judge James Horsfield Peters – were direct descendants of United Empire Loyalists, as was his paternal grandmother Mary Cunard. His other grandmother, Susan Ellen Bartley Pennefather, was born in Jamaica, raised in Anglo-Irish aristocracy, and was residing in India when she married John Hamilton Gray, who brought her to his native Prince Edward Island after resigning as a British cavalry officer.

Ancestor James Peters led a large group from Long Island, New York who settled in the future site of Saint John, New Brunswick in the spring of 1783. Later settling in Gagetown, New Brunswick, his sons and grandsons included attorneys general, magistrates, militia chiefs, lawyers and assembly members who would dominate public life in New Brunswick in the late 18th century and through the 19th century.

Judge James Horsfield Peters

Judge James Horsfield Peters

Fritz Peters` paternal grandfather, Gagetown, N.B.-born Judge James Horsfield Peters, married Nova Scotian Mary Cunard of Bushville/Miramichi, who was a daughter of the famous Halifax-based industrialist Sir Samuel Cunard, and they settled in Charlottetown, where James Horsfield Peters was lawyer and agent for Cunards before his judicial appointment. Two of their sons – Fritz`s father Frederick Peters and his brother Arthur – would serve as premier and attorney general of P.E.I.

Fritz`s maternal grandfather, Charlottetown-born Col. John Hamilton Gray, earlier served as premier and had the distinction of hosting and chairing the famous Charlottetown Conference of 1864 that set the stage for the creation of Canada as a self-governing, sea-to-sea country. Gray`s father Col. Robert Gray was a Loyalist from Virginia who helped raise a King`s regiment and was in the thick of fighting against the rebels in the Revolutionary War.

Col. john Hamilton Gray, c. 1864

Col. john Hamilton Gray, c. 1864

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Sir Samuel Cunard

Another ancestor, Loyalist shipbuilder Abraham Cunard from Pennsylvania, met his future wife Margaret Murphy from South Carolina on a Loyalist evacuation voyage to Nova Scotia in 1783, and they settled in Halifax and later in Rawdon, N.S. Several of their sons were deeply involved in businesses that were central to economic development in all three Maritime provinces , most notably Sir Samuel Cunard, the founder of Cunard Steamship Lines and one of the greatest businessmen in Canadian history.

As a boy, Fritz Peters heard stories of his famous ancestors and resolved to live up to their standard of leadership, excellence and public involvement.

The biography titled “The Bravest Canadian – Fritz Peters VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars“ by Fritz`s greatnephew Sam McBride is based on a recently-discovered treasure trove of family letters of the Grays and Peters going back to the 1700s, including 27 letters written by Fritz that give insight into his personality and motivations that resulted in exceptional courage and coolness in battle.

The author will sign books and meet with Maritime genealogy and history buffs in a book tour September 25-Octotber 5, 2013 through Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, including a presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 1st at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax.

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.

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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 .

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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.

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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.

 

“The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters VC“ Wins B.C. Genealogical Society 2012 family history book award

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On June 12, 2013 the British Columbia Genealogical Society announced that “The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars“ won the society`s 2012 Family History Book Award.

The award was presented to author Sam McBride at the B.C. Genealogical Society awards night in Burnaby, B.C.  The BCGS web site at www.bcgs.ca has more details on the annual book award.

This is the book`s first West Coast award. In February 2013 the letters-based biography of Capt. Frederic Thornton Peters, VC, DSO, DSC and bar, DSC (U.S.), RN was honoured with a Heritage Award from the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation.

http://www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?id=10982

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Certificate for BCGS family history book award

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information about the BC Genealogical Society family history book awards

How Canadian was Frederic Thornton Peters?

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by Sam McBride

F.T. “Fritz“ Peters is excluded from some lists of Canadian Victoria Cross heroes because 1) he spent his adult years based in either Gold Coast colony in West Africa, or England; 2) he served in the Royal Navy and with the British Secret Intelligence Service; or at sea with the Royal Navy; and 3) he rarely mentioned Canada as his nation of birth and boyhood.

A long-time friend and naval colleague, Commander David Joel, wrote in unpublished memoirs that he had heard that Peters returned to Canada for a time in the inter-war period, but he had no details.

The last record of Fritz in Canada was his father Frederick Peters` funeral in Victoria, British Columbia in August 1919, which Fritz organized and attended. His mother Bertha Gray Peters later wrote that her son Fritz would have joined the Royal Canadian Navy if there was one, but when Fritz enlisted at age 15 in 1905 the only navy to sign up with was the Royal Navy, which had a large profile in the Victoria region where Fritz resided due to its Pacific Station base in Esquimalt. The Royal Canadian Navy was still five years away from existence.
The latest publicly available censuses Fritz is on are the 1901 and 1911 censuses. Interestingly, he and his family are included in both the Canada census and the England census for 1901, when the family continued to be based in Oak Bay, B.C. but spent considerable time at Bertha`s stepmother Sarah Caroline Cambridge Gray`s community of Bedford north of London, where the children attended private school. Fritz was also counted twice in 1911, as his family included him as a resident of Esquimalt where they lived, and, as a sub-lieutenant on HMS Otter, Fritz was also included in the 1911 England census. He listed his nationality as Canadian, with “British subject“ in parentheses. Fritz listed his ethnic background as Scottish, as did all of his siblings except elder sister Helen, who said she was of English heritage.

Fritz`s Canadian origins are clearly stated in his Royal Navy file, and his best friends Swain Saxton, Cromwell Varley and David Joel were aware that he was Canadian. While it is true that Fritz did not mention being Canadian in his dealings with Americans in the Second World War, but tended to keep his personal life and background to himself as a matter of principle, and in sync with the top secret work he was involved in. Fritz`s letters home show that he detested self-promotion. Even if he were not involved in secret projects, he would not be showing off a c.v. or talking about his achievements because he thought such bragging was unseemly.

It is true that Fritz would have travelled on a British passport, because there were no Canadian passports until 1949 – seven years after his death. It is only in recent years that the concept of all Canadians being British subjects has faded away.

There are two other measures in which Fritz`s Canadianness stands out. Firstly, his ancestry goes back to an original proprietor of P.E.I., and three of his four grandparents (Peters, Gray and Cunard) were direct descendants of United Empire Loyalists who came to the Canadian Maritimes after the American Revolutionary War. If Canadian roots could be measured in loyalty and length of residence, Fritz was about as Canadian as you could get.

Secondly, Fritz deserves recognition as a Canadian because two of his brothers, Private John Francklyn Peters and Lieut. Gerald Hamilton Peters, died early in the First World War fighting with the 7th British Columbia Battalion. Another brother, Noel Quintan Peters, served with the Canadian Forestry Corps.

And Fritz was always proud to be a grandson of a Father of Confederation, Col. John Hamilton Gray. Fritz’s letters show that he spent time in London researching his grandfather and other Fathers of Confederation.

Also, the name of Fritz Peters is not found in British lists of Victoria Cross recipients from England, so if he is also not on Canadian lists he is overlooked in the overall picture.

If you talk to people in Charlottetown, they will tell you they are proud of him as a Canadian hero, particularly as he is the only P.E.I.-born recipient of the Victoria Cross.

So the answer is that yes, Fritz Peters was most definitely a Canadian!

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