In Memoriam  -   Brian Terence Peck                                                                             Home

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Arthur Ernest Abbott

William John Berrill

Peter (F.C.) Causebrook

Harold Cheaseman

Gordon Roy Coe

Jack Dunkley

Gordon George Elderton

Peter Gifford Felce

Frederick Furr

Harold Philip Gardiner

Anthony Robert Gillitt

Ronald Douglas Hales

Norman Leonard Hornsey

Robert Howard

Edwin Hudson

John Arthur Paul Loake

Richard Saxby Mutimer

Raymond Reginald Norman Raymond George Osborne Brian Terence Peck
Colin Roderick Penness Douglas Arthur Prigmore John Harry Sharp Norman Perkins Sharpe
Robert Troath Died after Korean War: Raymond-Kimber Leslie Walters

 

BRIAN TERENCE PECK, born 13.6.1926, entered the School in November 1939.  He left in July 1942 and joined the Office Staff of P.X. Ltd. Rushden. 

He joined the Northamptonshire Regiment in June 1944.  He was transferred to the Royal Scots in 1945.  He was killed during the Rhine crossing on 24th March 1945 and buried in Reichswald Forest British Military Cemetery Germany. 

He was the elder son of Mr. and Mrs. G.C.Peck, 28 North Drive, Gt. Yarmouth.  'In Memoriam'  book

 

Fortunately Brianís parents wrote to the school and stated that he started his army career training as a member of the Northamptonshire regiment before being transferred to the Royal Scots Regiment in Belgium.  The reason for the transfer is evident,

the Scottish battalions had been fighting very hard battles in Europe and had lost a lot of men.  After landing they fought virtually continuously through Caumont, the Seine Crossing, the Gheel Bridgehead, Best, Tilburg, Meijel, Blerwick, the Maas and across the Rhine.   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15th_(Scottish)_Infantry_Division

 

At the Seine Crossing an individual, from a different division, reported

The Seine Crossing: 25 August 1944

The fighting around the Gheel Bridgehead was horrendous. After being driven out of Normandy, the Germans beat a hasty retreat and regrouped to make a stand in among the waterways of the Belgium/Dutch border. The Scottish Infantry were magnificent here, repulsing attack after attack - something like thirteen in all, and losing over 700 Officers and men.  (http://www.gunsandbugles.co.uk/tragedyatbridgehead.htm)

An overview, at the end of the war  summarized the position as follows:

On 10 April 1946 the 15th (Scottish) Division was finally disbanded. Its battle casualties in killed, wounded and missing in twelve months of fighting amounted to 11,772.   Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/44th_Infantry_Brigade_(United_Kingdom)

 

Brian, therefore joined a well-blooded regiment fighting its way across Belgium into Germany.

A well written description of what happened leading up to crossing the Rhine is given in an account entitled: 8th Royal Scots Crossing of the Rhine

http://www.balagan.org.uk/war/crossfire/scenarios/rhine_8th_Scots.htm

 

It is during this attacks that Brian Peck died (25th March).

The Crossing of the Rhine on 23/24 March 1945 consisted of three related operations

Operation Plunder started at 1800 hours on 23 March with a barrage of 5,500 guns along the 35 km front, and bomber raid on the city of Wesel (250 Lancaster and Mosquito bombers dropped over 2,000 tons of HE on the 23rd, let alone the raid the previous day).  The 51st Highland Division led the river crossing at 2300 hours with the 15th Scottish Division to their south, Canadians crossing later 6.5 km south of Rees, then the  1st Commando Brigade 1.5 km north of Wesel.   General Patton had earlier put the US 5th Infantry Division across the Ludendorff railway bridge at Remagen - a day earlier than planned - thus drawing off German reinforcements and reducing the opposition to the main landings.  

The transporter on the left carries one of the amphibious 'Buffaloes' used by the 8th Royal Scottish Battalion.'

At the top of  the map below, the  red line move to the right (over the Rhine) is caused by the British army attack.  Wesel can be seen in its centre.  The large red line bulge south of Cologne is the result of the American General Patton's attack - made one day before it had been agreed!.

 

It is probably during the next stage that Brian was killed.  Brian's parents were told by the regiment that:  the battalion "had achieved their first objective when Brian was killed by machine gun fire."   

Operation Varsity - launched after dawn on 24 March - was the largest and last single day airborne action of the war.  17,000 airborne troops were landed and required 1,572 aircraft, 1,326 gliders and 900 fighter to transport them.  The troops dropped in the Wesel area were from the US 17th Airborne Division.

 

The 8th Royal Scottish Battalion (44th Lowland Brigade, 15th Scottish Division, XII Corps) drove to link up with troops of the British 6th Airbourne Division who landed on the high ground to the east of the Rhine (the Diersfordterwald).   The Brigade attacked across the Rhine south of the 51st Highland Division.  8th Royal Scots and another battalion crossed  in buffalos and the third in storm boats. 

 

To make their task easier Brigadier Cummings-Bruce had earlier massed his machine guns and Bofors anti-aircraft guns on the west bank around the bend in the river from where his men were going to land; a position from where they could see behind the dyke on the German east bank.  That meant that during the preliminary artillery barrage the German trenches were also covered by fire from these weapons.  

8th Royal Scots formed up with A Company on the left, B Company in the middle and C Company on the right, with D Company in reserve.   The battalion went

 across in three waves at 0200 hours on 24 March.  Their buffalos also carried the Battalion anti-tank guns and carriers.  Once on the far shore A company seized the enemy occupied houses at Ronduit.   B company passed through them to attack a crossroads and farm at Gossenhof, but were held up by enemy fire; a platoon from D company was sufficient reinforcement to get them into the village.  C company in the south was also briefly held up by Germans in another farm.  The Battalion suffered little German artillery fire, however, they lost their mortar platoon due to an unlucky enemy shell.  

 

By 0815 hours the Brigade was firmly establish around Bislich however their advance was blocked by enemy forces.  A squadron of DD Shermans from 44th Royal Tanks joined 8th Royal Scots at Gossenhof farm and with their support B company successfully attacked Vissel on the left as D company took Jockern - these attacks started at 0945 hours.    With these villages secure the Battalion HQ was moved to Gossenhof farm.  Around 1400 hours the battalion radio operator made contact with the 3rd Parachute Brigade.   

 

The objective of 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, part of 3rd Parachute Brigade, was to clear the south-west corner of the dropping zone and then seize the western edge of the woods atop the Schneppenburg feature.   The latter formed a ridge at the top of the Diersfordterwald, which itself contained German gun positions and tank harbours (containing only a small number of tanks, sufficient to defend the neigbouring artillery).  Unfortunately, when Canadians landed at 1000 hours they dropped into the fringe of the woods, so many - including the commander - were helplessly stranded in the trees and so shot by the Germans.  However, as one group of Canadians consolidated on the woods edge, C company took a small hamlet 250 metres away and subsequently fought of several German tanks.  Once the drop zone was secure, a force was sent to clear a small extension to the woods.  Having achieved this at 1515 hours they encountered the patrol of the 8th Royal Scots - formed from 9 carriers - sent out to link up with them.  

The battle was not over, however, as groups of Germans all over the Diersfordterwald were trying to break out of the encircling Allied forces.   

 

Brian Peck died on the 24th March the same day that Churchill himself crossed the Rhine

On 24 Mar, Churchill crossed the Rhine in an LCM (landing craft, mechanized), setting foot on the eastern bank of the Rhine, symbolizing the crossing of the British political leader over the traditional border of Germany that no foreign army had crossed in 140 years. He later went as far as the railway bridge at Wesel by Montgomery's staff car, a bridge that was still under enemy fire. This adventurous expedition, however, was later noted as too daring by Eisenhower, and noted that had he been there he would never had permitted Churchill to cross the river at that time, just as Eisenhower had fought to stop Churchill from observing the Normandy landings.

  http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=134

 

Medals awarded to Churchill

As an aside (and as someone who admires Churchill, it is noticeable that Churchill was awarded a large range of campaign and general war medals on the basis of these flying visits):   The only medals awarded in WWII that he did not receive were: the Atlantic Star , the Pacific Star and the Air Crew Star

WWII medals Awarded to Winston Churchill Service required
1. Italy Star, UK, authorized 2 Aug 45. Awarded for operational service on land in Italy, Sicily, Greece, Yugoslavia, the Aegean area and Dodecanese islands, Corsica, Greece, Sardinia, Yugoslavia and Elba at any time between 11th June 1943 and 8th May 1945.
2. 1939-1945 Star, UK, authorized 9 Oct 45.  Awarded for service in the Second World War between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945.
3. Africa Star, UK, authorized 9 Oct 45. Awarded for 1 or more days service in an operational area in North Africa between 10th June 1940 (The date of Italyís declaration of war} and 12th May 1943
4. France and Germany Star, UK, authorized 9 Oct 45. Awarded for operational service in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany from 6th June 1944 to 8th May 1945.   NOTE:  Nothing for  pre Dunkirk!
5. Defence Medal 1939-45, UK, authorized 9 Oct 45. Awarded to service personnel for three years service in a non-operational area (e.g. India) or six months service overseas in territories subjected to air attack
6. War Medal 1939-45, UK, authorized 11 Dec 46. All full-time personnel of the armed forces wherever they were serving, so long as they had served for at least 28 days between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945 were eligible for this medal.

 

CWGC

 

PECK, BRIAN TERRENCE

Initials:

B T

Nationality:

United Kingdom

Rank:

Private

Regiment/Service:

Royal Scots

Unit Text:

8th Bn.

Age:

18

Date of Death:

24/03/1945

Service No:

14792098

Additional information:

Son of George Cecil and Edna Beryl Peck, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

44. C. 12.

Cemetery:

REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY

 

 

8th Battalion Royal Scots

The 8th Battalion Royal Scots joined the 44th (Lowland) Infantry Brigade on 3 September 1939.

Regimental tartan is Hunting Stewart.

Cap badge:           Royal Scots bimetal cap badge on a 3" square tartan patch.

Sleeve insignia:    2-1/2" square tartan patch

 

The 8th Battalion remained in the UK as part of 15th (Scottish) Division until June 1944, when it landed in Normandy as part of Operation Overlord. It fought in north-west Europe until the end of the war; it entered Belgium in September, crossed the Rhine in March 1945 and advanced to Hamburg by the end of the war.[   8th Battalion Royal Scots 44th Infantry Brigade for the duration.Landed NW Europe 17/6/44    

 

15th Scottish Division   SOUTHAMPTON  Landed in France 14 June 1944 Wikipedia   Their particular distinction was to be selected to lead the last set piece river crossing of the war, the assault across the Elbe on 29 April 1945, after which they fought on to the Baltic occupying both Lubeck and Kiel. They were the only division of the British Army of the Second World War to be involved in all of the major European river assault crossings; the Seine, the Rhine and the Elbe.

Book:

Scottish Divisions in the World Wars  By Mike Chappell, Lee Johnson

Illustrated by Mike Chappell

Published by Osprey Publishing, 1994

ISBN 1855324695, 9781855324695

64 pages        £11.99    Out of Print (more expensive as a used copy)