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Edward John Peters

Servicenumber : 3606148
Rank : Private
Regiment : Border Regiment
Unit : 1st (Airborne) Batallion
Date of Death : 08-08-2014
Age : 91
Edward "Johnny" Peters was born on 12 february 1923 in Liverpool. He had three sisters and one brother. His father served on the Western front during World War 1. They lived at the Atheldene Road and Johnny went to the Florence Melly school. 
On 12 february 1941, on his 18th birthday, he volunteered to join the army. He joined the 70th Battalion The Border Regiment and soon volunteered for the 1st (Airborne) Battalion, where he served with No. 14 Platoon, B Company.
Peters saw action in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. 
On 17 september 1944 Peters left for Arnhem on board of Horsa chalk 161. The Horsa was flown by pilot John Place and co-pilot Ralph Maltby. When they crossed the Dutch coast they came under fire from German flak. Ralph Maltby was hit and died before a medic could reach him. The Horsa landed near Wolfheze. 
Together with his friend Eric Borders Peters dug in along the railway line and not long after that moved to a brickworks in Renkum.  In the afternoon of 18 september B Company was almost surrounded at the brickworks and the order was given to pull back. Under cover of the riverbank the company managed to withdraw and moved to the Westerbouwing.
On 21 september the company was attacked and had to witdraw from the high ground at Westerbouwing. They moved to the area of the gasworks. Peters joined up with A Company and was put into a slit trench with another soldier from B Company. 
In the night of 25/26th september Peters was withdrawn across the Rhine. On 27 september he was flown to England. There the battalion was rebuilded, but never reached the strenght as before Market Garden.
After the German surrender the 1st British Airborne Division was send to Norway to supervise the German surrender there. 
Johnny Peters was demobilised in 1946. 
During the war Peters met Eva Rackham (1924-2007). She joined the navy on 24 augustus 1942 and served until 14 may 1945. She worked as a steward for the Women's Royal Naval Service. Johnny and Eva married on 16 june 1945. 
In september 1946 Peters found a job at Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Ltd in Ipswich. He worked in their blacksmith's shop and in the years to follow became the assistant manager of the night shift, which at the height of the company's productivity consisted of three departments, with five foreman in charge of 150 men. 
When Peters was at the age of nearly 62 he was offered early retirement, which he accepted.
Since the early 1970's Peters visited Oosterbeek each year for the commemorations in september. He became the chairman of the Arnhem 1944 Veterans Club. Later on he visited Oosterbeek at least twice a  year, during the Airborne March on the first saturday of september and during the commemorations two weeks later. 
Johnny Peters died on 8 august 2014 after a short illness.
Sources: Website http://www.thebritishairborneforcesclub.co.uk, Airborne Forever, When Dragons Flew and An Arnhem Odyssey.  


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