Online features, interviews and reports related to the life and achievements of Fritz Peters VC

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Halifax Chronicle-Herald newspaper

New Brunswick Historical Society newsletter

Monday magazine, Victoria, B.C., November 2012

Nelson Star

CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum web site, Local Heroes section

CBC Charlottetown – radio—frederick-thornton-peters

list of authors interviewed by Mark Forsythe on CBC British Columbia

News 1130, Vancouver, B.C.

World Naval Ships Forum – discussion

Victoria Cross forum – discussion

Military Times – Hall of Valor


abcbookworld web site

Photos from the presentation of 2013 Heritage Awards by the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation

The article below in Legion Magazine was done in 2006 before information from the Peters Family Papers became available.   The story of Fritz is included along with the stories of Canada`s other naval VC`s, Robert Hampton Gray and Rowland Bourke.   Further details on all three are in the Local Heroes section of the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum web site.   Ironically, each of the heroes  has a special connection with the small mountain community of Nelson, British Columbia, 400 miles inland from the West Coast.  Gray and Bourke lived in Nelson, and Peters` U.S. DSC medal was officially presented to his mother as next-of-kin in a ceremony at her home in Nelson.

Veterans Affairs Canada, virtual memorial for Frederic Thornton Peters.   Click on digital collection. listing and reviews

Canadian Expeditionary Force research forum

Details of mountains in the Nelson, B.C. area named after Fritz Peters and Hammy and Jack Gray, along with geographic naming of Rowland Bourke on the B.C. coast.

Fritz and Operation Reservist noted in An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson, winner of Pulitzer Prize

Special Forces roll of honour (SOE)

Bartley family tree, including Gray and Peters families

CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum web site, Defending the Coast section.  Story of Peters` cousin,  Col. James Peters

Veterans Affairs Canada virtual memorial for Fritz`s brother John Francklyn Peters.   Click on digital collection.

Veterans Affairs Canada virtual memorial for Fritz`s brother Gerald Hamilton Peters.   Click on digital collection.

Biography of Fritz`s paternal grandfather Judge James Horsfield Peters

Biography of Fritz`s uncle, the Hon. Arthur Peters

Biography of Fritz`s maternal grandfather, Col. John Hamilton Gray

Biography of Fritz`s maternal great-grandfather, Col. Robert Gray

Biography of Fritz`s paternal great-grandfather, Sir Samuel Cunard

Biography of Fritz`s Loyalist ancestor Charles Jeffery Peters

Biography of Fritz`s Loyalist ancestor Benjamin Lester Peters

Biography of Fritz`s uncle Henry Skeffington Poole

Biography of Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield, RN, father of Fritz`s uncle Edward Bayfield

Biography of Fritz`s maternal great-grandfather, Gen. Sir John Lysaght Pennefather

1914 Christmas card from Frederic Thornton Peters on HMS Meteor

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by Sam McBride

Among the memorabilia of Frederic Thornton “Fritz” Peters, VC, DSO, DSC and bar, DSC (U.S.), RN that exists today in the family collection is a Christmas card he sent home to his parents and siblings in Prince Rupert, British Columbia in December 1914.

Scans of the front and inside of the card are shown below.  The back of the card was blank.  The pre-printed message in the card is “With Christmas Greetings and all Good Wishes for the New Year.”  Then, in Fritz’s handwriting, is a personal message which I have not yet been able to figure out.  It looks like “Your hangle mongle”.  Members of the family often used nicknames and pet phrases in letters to each other, but this is not repeated in any other correspondence.

front of 1914 Christmas card

Fritz had served in the Royal Navy from 1905 until retiring in 1913, and then rejoined the navy at the outbreak of war in August 1914, serving as a lieutenant second-in-command of the destroyer HMS Meteor out of Devonport.  His service on Meteor drew front page news coverage on two occasions.  First, in October 1914 Meteor stopped the German hospital ship Ophelia after a sea battle off Texel Island.  After search and interrogation, Fritz and other Meteor officers concluded the ship was scouting for German submarines, and directed it to Yarmouth where it was converted for British use.

inside 1914 Christmas card

In January 1915 in the Battle of Dogger Bank in the North Sea, Meteor ‘s engine room was hit by an 8.2-inch shell from the German cruiser Blucher.   In the face of flames and bursting boilers, Fritz courageously rushed straight to the engine room, saved the lives of two ratings and prevented further damage to the ship from explosions.  He was Mentioned in Dispatches and then in March 1915 received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) medal from King George the Fifth.  For a naval officer, the DSO was second only to the Victoria Cross as an award for valour.

There was talk among Fritz’s naval colleagues and friends that his actions at Dogger Bank could have qualified for a Victoria Cross.  It may have made a difference if he was in command of the warship rather than a “Number One” (second-in-command).  In November 1915 Fritz was placed in command of the HMS Greyhound.

In 1918 Fritz received his next major award for valour in battle, the Distinguished Service Cross, for anti-submarine heroics.  Returning for Royal Navy service in the Second World War, he won a bar to his Distinguished Service Cross in 1940, and then won the Victoria Cross and U.S. Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in leading the attack through the boom of Oran harbour in the Allied invasion of North Africa of November 1942.

My book The Bravest Canadian about the extraordinary two-world-war naval career and mysterious life of Frederic Thornton Peters in his native Canada — as well as exploits in Britain, Africa and around the world — will be published later this spring.