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VC & Other Medal Winners Victoria Cross recipients and winners of other bravery and service medals

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  #26  
Old 19-03-2013, 09:25
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BlackBat242 BlackBat242 is offline
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Default Re: Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC* & US DSC RN

If the fog is too thick, it may well find the water before the pilot was ready to... hitting too hard/fast, or catching a wave wrong, can wreck a flying boat just as easily as the same mistakes do with land planes.

Radar-altimeters were few and far between at the end of 1942, and air-pressure-altimeters were only accurate for the air pressure/altitude setting they were calibrated for at the beginning of the flight, and had an error space even then of dozens of feet at best.
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  #27  
Old 19-03-2013, 10:10
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC* & US DSC RN

My thanks again Jon for your sound advice re the Sunderland crash-I had forgotten that altimeters in 1942 were anything but reliable when it came to judging the proximity of a landing surface.


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  #28  
Old 19-03-2013, 12:35
Dave Hutson Dave Hutson is offline
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Default Re: Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC* & US DSC RN

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Originally Posted by BlackBat242 View Post
The operative question here is... how long did it take the launch to reach the survivors?

It says that Thorpe "held onto him" for 90 minutes... and that he was already dead when the launch reached them.

Very likely Thorpe was endangering his own life by holding on to Peters' body... and when it became clear he was dead, Thorpe let him go. Unless he was wearing a floatation vest he would have sunk below the surface and been unrecoverable.

If he was wearing a floatation vest, he could well have drifted out of sight in the fog before the rescue boat reached them. As the vests of the time had a finite useful life, often measured in single-digit days, the vest could have become waterlogged (kapok) or spring a leak (air/CO2 filled), and he likely sank rather than washing ashore.
The Sunderland waterway [runway] during their years based here in Plymouth was a stretch of water that we in Plymouth know very well and looking at the tidal conditions in that area and considering the period we are looking at it is not surprising that Capt Peters body was not recovered.

Recently, that being over the last Christmas period, a young man who was reputably a good swimmer jumped off the Chain Ferry that runs between the Devonport side of the river and the Torpoint [Cornwall] side. The reason for his jumping is not known but the point I am making is that an intense search using all available rescue and volunteer services was concentrated throughout the area for the best part of six weeks before his body was finally located.

That stretch of water can be treacherous and a body can be moved in many directions over a few tides and particularly out to sea.

Dave H
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  #29  
Old 23-04-2013, 19:08
kootenayguy kootenayguy is offline
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Default Re: Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC* & US DSC RN

This is Sam McBride, greatnephew of Fritz Peters and author of the book. Sorry I have been away from the forum for a while.

In my research for the book a few years I tried to contact the flying boat pilot Wynton Thorpe in Australia, but he had died in 2008. I was able to contact his son Col. Brooke Thorpe (a Vietnam War vet), who sent me a photo of his dad that I included in the book. Brooke said his dad felt bad about losing the passengers and rarely talked about the crash night.

Thorpe carried Fritz for about an hour and then let go of the body when it was certain he was dead. Other crew members were injured and needed help. The rescue boat arrived about half an hour later. Thorpe said he was blinded by fog and his altimeter wrongly indicated 600 feet when the craft hit the sea at an angle and flipped over. Fritz and the other four passengers died, but all of the RAAF crew of 11 survived, though several had serious injuries. The remains of the flying boat were discovered by a Plymouth recreational diver in 1985. Two years later the propellor went on display at an RAAF museum in Perth, Australia, and pilot Thorpe was a special guest for the event. I hear the propellor is still on display at the Bull Run museum.

After Thorpe's death in 2008, his family donated his life jacket from the 1942 crash night to the Australian War Memorial, who have an image of the life jacket on their web site. Fritz's body was never found. He was a heavy guy wearing a heavy uniform, and the life jackets of the time did get waterlogged after time in the water, so his body probably sank to the bottom.

The flying boat crash was a well-known event in RAAF history, but because of secrecy at the time the crew did not know the names of the passengers. All that was known was that one passenger was "a naval captain who won the VC". The Australians were not aware of the name of Capt. F.T. Peters until i contacted the Australian War Memorial in 2010. They were very pleased to have the additional info.
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  #30  
Old 24-04-2013, 09:33
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC* & US DSC RN

GM Sam-many thanks for your report on the death of Captain Peters VC-we did think that he must have died of exposure- after being in the water for some time.

jainso31
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  #31  
Old 27-10-2013, 23:09
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Brian Wentzell Brian Wentzell is offline
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Default Re: Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC* & US DSC RN

Gentlemen: I noticed today in the Chapter's Bookstore (a national chain with an extensive website) a book on the life of Captain Peters, VC. I will get you the publisher's details in a few days on my next visit. At last his story has been committed to print in Canada.

Brian
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  #32  
Old 28-10-2013, 01:04
Scatari Scatari is online now
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Default Re: Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC* & US DSC RN

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Originally Posted by Brian Wentzell View Post
Gentlemen: I noticed today in the Chapter's Bookstore (a national chain with an extensive website) a book on the life of Captain Peters, VC. I will get you the publisher's details in a few days on my next visit. At last his story has been committed to print in Canada.

Brian
"The Bravest Canadian: Fritz Peters VC - The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars."

Author - Sam McBride.

Publisher - Granville Island Publishing

ISBN-13: 978-1926991108

Published in 2012 and written by his great-nephew Sam McBride, who is a member of these forums (kootenayguy)
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  #33  
Old 28-10-2013, 22:15
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Brian Wentzell Brian Wentzell is offline
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Default Re: Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC* & US DSC RN

Tim: Thanks. One less item on my to do list!
Brian
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  #34  
Old 12-04-2017, 17:52
AMH AMH is offline
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Default Re: Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC, DSO, DSC* & US DSC RN

I have read with interest in several posts that Capt Peters was the sole officer surviving the attempted blockade at Oran with only 13 other ratings surviving. However my father Arthur John Humphreys I believe was a sub lieutenant on board the ship at the time and suffered the harrowing and unimaginable experience especially at the age of only 19, but thankfully surviving. We understood Capt Peters was flying home with the dispatches of this mission which probably would have mentioned him but alas we understand these dispatches were lost during the crash landing of the Sunderland aircraft and of course Capt Peters sadly died. My Mother was the one who gave us a fairly detailed account of what happened, alas my father never really wanted to talk much about this. After being taken back to the UK he was posted to HMS Roberts where he saw the Sicily bombardments as well as the Normandy Landings as a Lieutenant and Gunnery Officer.
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