Sgt Peter Carrie Celebrates his 100th Birthday at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea
Peter Carrie was born on the 18th February 1915 near Dundee, Scotland. King George V was on the throne and Herbert Asquith was the Prime Minister. The Gallipoli Campaign had just started during WW1. The most amazing fact of 1915 was that Sheffield Utd beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
Peter is older than the entire history of the RAF. The first raiding Zeppelin was shot down over London in this year. The first flying Victoria Cross was awarded to 2nd Lieutenant Rhodes-Moorhouse of 2 Sqn, RFC in 1915.
Peter joined the British Army in 1934, surviving the North West Frontier Campaign initially as an Infantryman then in tanks in Afghanistan. On the commencement of hostilities with Germany in 1939, Peter joined the British Expeditionary Force defending the Low Countries from Hitler. During this period he was injured at Dunkirk and medevac’d back to a UK hospital. Whilst recovering from his injuries he was told he would be discharged from the Army. This was the beginning of Chapter 2 of Peters military career. During his convalescence, a New Zealand Air Force Officer was searching the hospital wards for suitable candidates for Aircrew training. With his background as a mechanical engineer he was highlighted as suitable for Flight Engineer on the Heavy’s. Once discharged Peter transferred to the RAF and began 18 months of training before flying 18 missions over Germany on Lancaster Bombers.
During WW2, 112,000 Aircrew flew sorties, 55,000 men lost their lives with 21,000 Flight Engineers never coming home.
It is truly remarkable that a man who survived Afghanistan, Dunkirk and as Aircrew in Bomber Command during WW2 has reached his 100th Birthday. His telegram from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was presented to Peter by Governor of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, General Sir Redmond-Watt KCB KCVO CBE DL, framed for posterity by the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Peter was also presented a statue of a Chelsea Pensioner to mark this famous day. Sir Steven Hillier KCB CBE DFC RAF also made a presentation on behalf of the RAF.
A moving message was read out from Sgt Glen Turner, 75 Sqn Association, RNZAF thanking Peter for his time flying for them during WWII. A representation will visit him from New Zealand during the third week of May 2015.
Mr Mike Moxon represented the RAF Flight Engineer and Air Engineer Association to pass on the best wishes of the members of the FEAEA. He spent the afternoon chatting with Peter about flying, Lancaster’s and tanks!
Peter is the oldest member of the FEAEA and holds the only Life Membership. After the formalities, all enjoyed a sip of beer and a very pleasant tea of sandwiches and cakes. Peter was heard to say, “I used to drink a gallon but I can only manage a half these days”.
The celebrations ended with a chorus of Happy Birthday, sung enthusiastically by all in attendance.
Major P D Shannon, Captain of Invalids thanked all for attending and making it a very special day for all at the Hospital.