Interview with Peter John Peck


Interview with Peter John Peck


Peter joined the 74 Air Defence Cadet Corps at a unit at Crayford. He then volunteered to join the Royal Air Force. After a recruiting centre at Hither Green, he attended Lord’s Cricket Ground and was called up towards the end of 1943. He went to Newquay and then sailed to Nova Scotia in Canada. He completed air gunnery school training on Blenheims in Mossbank, Saskatchewan, followed by an air bombing course on Ansons. He was then commissioned.
Peter did an air bombing course at RAF Staverton and went to 12 Operational Training Unit. From 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit, he was posted to 12 Squadron near Lincoln, where he recalls spending VE Day. Peter was involved in Operation Manna, Operation Exodus and a Cook’s Tour over the Ruhr. He was transferred to 156 Squadron at RAF Wyton and spent some time in different Indian cities, ultimately in charge of the RAF cinema unit there. Peter was demobilised in early 1948.



Temporal Coverage




00:35:22 audio recording


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GR: This is Gary Rushbrooke with Flight Lieutenant Peter Peck. We’re at Peter’s home in Spalding on the 25th of April for the International Bomber Command Centre. Peter, if you can just tell me a little bit about yourself. Where you were born.
PP: I was born in Bow, London. So they tell me that makes me a Cockney although I don’t, at those times I don’t cry about that. They thought I was a country boy when I moved to Kent.
GR: Within the sound of Bow Bells.
PP: That’s right and at a guess London was [pause] well we were, yes we lived in the London area until 1934. I was born in 1924. So ten. At the age of ten my — I had a younger brother and my father was one of those many people that sort of emigrated from north of the River Thames to south.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Kent. Where —
GR: You went to Kent.
PP: Yes. Houses were being built by Ideal Homes and houses were available. Six hundred and ninety six pounds for a house although my father was only on five pound ten a week as a bank, a bank messenger.
GR: Bank messenger. I was just going to say what did your father do.
PP: Yes.
GR: He was a bank messenger.
PP: He was a bank messenger. But that of course enabled a household to tick-by it seemed.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And I saw what it means to be on the edge of money with my parents. But we moved and in 1934 we moved to Welling in Kent and that’s where recently the London marathon’s just been tearing up and down.
GR: That’s just been doing. Yeah.
PP: Yeah. Shooter’s Hill Road.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And then from — I was ten year old and I had — my brother was five years old and I lived in Kent from then until — well many years. But of course —
GR: Yeah.
PP: At ten year old then that was in ‘34 but in ‘39 the war.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And we lived in Kent.
GR: So you witnessed the Battle of Britain at its height.
PP: We saw. Yes. To me. As a young boy just see aircraft fighting over — well that would be, I presume, Spitfires and Hurricanes.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Fighters over — over Kent. And, and things coming down.
GR: Yeah. Well that part of the country, Kent was protected by 11 Group which obviously was Spitfires and Hurricanes and it saw the main, the main battles of the Battle of Britain.
PP: Well it must have been. I gathered that later when —
GR: It must have been fascinating as a young man watching that.
PP: Oh well. It was fun I suppose. In fact I can remember when I started work. Started work when I was fifteen. Went to work. My first long pair of trousers were my father’s bank messenger’s suit. I could get into the trousers but the jacket made me look as if I’d got a Zoot suit on. Do you remember them?
GR: I do. I do. Yeah.
PP: Zoot suits.
GR: What was your first job? What was you?
PP: I was an office boy.
GR: Yeah.
PP: In the Leyland and Birmingham Rubber Company. An office boy was where I would be with the — didn’t have a chair. The office boy didn’t have a chair. We sat in a little quarter of the office and we looked after the post.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Or an older man. Happy man with a crippled hand. He was the post master. Post clerk I suppose. I would just take the big red bag. Post office bag. Round —end of the day over my shoulder and in the hot summertime I remember my father’s bank messenger’s blue serge suit. It was jolly hot.
GR: Jolly hot. Yeah.
PP: But it was a suit.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And it was fun to dash out of course when the bits of shrapnel were coming out and you heard pinging on. We had, ‘get out the way,’ but it was, it was to me it was an experience.
GR: Did you collect any? Did you collect any shrapnel?
PP: Little pieces. Yeah. Jagged.
GR: Yeah. I’ve heard that.
PP: Yeah. Take a piece home.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Yeah. So that was that and then some sixteen and we were living in Kent and I wanted to be a pilot. I joined the ATC.
GR: Yeah.
PP: It was ATC. There was the very old number 74 ADC. I think, the Air Defence Cadet Corps at a unit at Crayford which was about five miles from where I lived in Welling. We went down there. Sixteen, seventeen volunteered to join. I wanted to join —
GR: Join the RAF.
PP: Join the RAF.
GR: And seventeen.
PP: Yes.
GR: Was when you could volunteer. Yeah.
PP: But then you had to queue up. After a while went, I went to the recruiting centre. At Hither Green that was. And the stories that those that had been the week before drew up were quite horrific. They said you’d got this bit of mercury. You’ve got to hold your breath and hold it up otherwise you’ll fail and you blew into a tube and there was mercury to keep the pressure up.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And it was to see whether your lungs were any good. Oh it was scary. You didn’t want it to happen. You didn’t want to fail.
GR: No. Of course you didn’t. No.
PP: Fortunately passed and had then it was just waiting time.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Until what was that? Thirty. And then after that it was just similar for everybody of course but we went to Lord’s Cricket Ground which was a big thing to me.
GR: Yeah.
PP: We recruits recruited at Lord’s Cricket Ground in to the RAF.
GR: So you volunteered at seventeen.
PP: And I was still seventeen. 1943 I suppose in the end. So I still wasn’t.
GR: Yeah.
PP: No wait a minute. No. 1943.
GR: Yes. You’d have been called up.
PP: Called up.
GR: Having a quick look in the logbook. Yes. You would have got called up towards the end of 1943.
PP: ’43. So that would have been —
GR: Yeah.
PP: I would have been in my — coming up to my nineteenth year. Eighteen.
GR: Yes. Yeah.
PR: Eighteen.
GR: And did you say to them, ‘I want to be a pilot.’?
PP: Well. That’s what we wanted to do but of course.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Before that you had that. The corporal. We had a corporal who was in charge. He was, we held him in awe really. He showed you how to polish your boots. Blacken the toes of your boots so that they shone like anything with a back handle of a knife.
GR: Yeah.
PP: The bone handle of a knife. And always wanted to please. I always. I think I had two left feet when it come to marching and it came natural for some people.
GR: Yeah.
PP: But it’s a matter of wanting to achieve and —
GR: And this was your initial training.
PP: Yes.
GR: Doing sort of six weeks of marching and —
PP: And then of course we went down to, we went to the West Country. Newquay. Did our training just from when we were kitted out at Lord’s Cricket ground eventually.
GR: Yeah.
PP: We went to different places. We went to Newquay.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And then I did do — just do your best.
GR: Yeah. Where did they send you to do your main training?
PP: After that we went to Canada.
GR: Oh yeah. Right.
PP: Yes, and we went off to Canada. I was just reading it in my book. Went to Canada in November ’43 I think.
GR: ’43. Yeah.
PP: ’43.
GR: How did you feel about being sent to Canada for your training?
PP: Well it was so exciting. It is exciting.
GR: Exciting. Yeah. Yeah.
PP: Because at that time you know it was eerie because we left wherever it was. I’m not so sure if it wasn’t Manchester or somewhere we left and travelled up to Glasgow. And it was black out because the war was, the war was on wasn’t it in then? In ‘43. And this train, there were no lights on the trains and we boarded this ship. It was, it was the HMS. My friend looked it up. Andes.
GR: Yeah.
PP: It was a luxury liner.
GR: Yes.
PP: And so we travelled to Canada but the great event for me. All of us actually. We were in bunks. No. It was hammocks. On there.
GR: Yeah.
PP: All gathered together. But there was, there was a boy amongst us, a boy, a man amongst us — he was a great pianist. And they had — because it had been a luxury liner there was still a grand piano in one of the places and we all gathered or — and he played to me the Warsaw Concerto. I may have seen the film.
GR: Yeah.
PP: I don’t know if you’ve seen the film.
GR: I have.
PP: With Anton Walbrook
GR: Yeah.
PP: And Sally Gray I think. And it shows the blitz of Warsaw.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And he plays that —
GR: Yeah. That’s right. Yeah.
PP: As I say, I’m no great musical lover but it just did something for all those people leaving —
GR: Yes. Yeah.
PP: Leaving home and the music.
GR: Leaving home. Probably all of you for the first time. Never been abroad before
PP: Music just — just did something.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And later on I asked my son if he could get the film. He got it on Ebay years later.
GR: Very good.
PP: Anton Walbrook. And I played it. So that was then. And then we went to Canada. And then such luxury of course. Even on the boat we had a bit better food. When we got to, we went to, across to Halifax. That’s Northern Canada.
GR: Yeah. Nova Scotia.
PP: Over to Newfoundland I think.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And then we had this delight of four or five days on the Trans, on the railway.
GR: Yeah.
PP: All across Canada. Beautiful white sheets to sleep in and how do I say this? That there were lovely people that looked after us were very happy American.
GR: People.
PP: People.
GR: Yeah. Plenty of food.
PP: Plenty of food.
GR: Yeah.
PP: White bread.
GR: White bread. And of course no rationing.
PP: No.
GR: So you were —
PP: In Canada we went right across to Saskatchewan and Moose Jaw. That’s right. And —
GR: Yeah.
PP: Moose Jaw and Mossbank I was stationed at.
GR: That’s right. I’m just looking through your logbook.
PP: I don’t — It wouldn’t show it there.
GR: Yeah. It does. Yeah. It says January, February.
PP: That would have been ’44 I should think.
GR: March ‘44. Completion of gunnery school training at Mossbank.
PP: That’s it. Mossbank. Oh I’m right.
GR: Saskatchewan. Yeah. 25th of Feb 1944 and then —
PP: That would have been the gunnery.
GR: Yeah. You did some air gunnery duties on Blenheims.
PP: Blenheims.
GR: Yeah. And that was at Mossbank as well.
PP: I remember writing, “Gosh what old aircraft.” To me. A Blenheim then.
GR: Then on to Ansons for air bombing course.
PP: That was for, yes, air bombing and gunnery. Firing at the drogues and I did the bombing in Canada too.
GR: Yes.
PP: That’s where. I remember seeing somewhere in the book. Five thousand I think. Is it? At the back? Is there a —
GR: Yeah.
PP: Piece of paper somewhere? I saw something on here. What does this mean? This is, this says height doesn’t it?
GR: We’re just looking so bombing characterisation chart showing height, distance and this was while you was at.
PP: Twenty thousand.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And then was it fifteen thousand feet I was —?
GR: Yeah. It was showing your accuracy from certain bombing heights.
PP: Yeah. I got a qualification — a B category was it?
GR: Yeah.
PP: That’s better than C I suppose but not as good as A.
GR: Yeah. Bombing record.
PP: And then when we —
GR: We’ve got to the end of April 1944 where I think you finished your training in Canada.
PP: That’s right. And just looking in my memories book there I wrote that there were twenty two of us on the course and we had the exams and well it seemed to go quite well and I said that the twenty two of — and seven of us and I was one of them fortunately — we went from LAC to sergeant to pilot officer.
GR: From sergeant to pilot officer.
PP: From — well.
GR: Yeah.
PP: That would be — the LAC, some became sergeants.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And others got commissioned.
GR: Right.
PP: I suppose they needed.
GR: Yeah.
PP: A percentage of officers amongst them dare I say it.
GR: Among the workers. Yeah.
PP: For a, for a Cockney boy I thought — mum thought I’d done pretty well.
GR: Good. So how did you get back to England?
PP: Ah. We came back to England. That was on another —
GR: Cruise liner.
PP: Another vessel.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And, yeah. That’s written down.
GR: How did you find England when you got back? So you’d been away five months.
PP: Yeah. But I think. I’m sure I saw it but my own life seemed to have changed so —
GR: Yeah.
PP: So much. And I remember when we got back it was getting chits and sent to Harrogate to get kitted out and being measured up as if I was not a Cockney but a Saville Row man.
GR: A Saville Row.
PP: That was. And then of course to come home to, you know, to be, to come home and then that was only briefly of course to come home.
GR: Yeah.
PP: That’s right. It was only briefly to come home but then we were.
GR: Operational Training Unit.
PP: Yes. That was. We was — I was — still individuals. I was classified as a air bomber and then we must, we must have got together and crewed up somewhere.
GR: Yeah. I think, again, just checking with the logbook it was RAF.
PP: Staverton.
GR: Staverton. Where you had various pilots.
PP: Yes. That’s right.
GR: And you was doing an air bombing course. And July, August and then really picking up from October. Well the main of November you went to what they called 12 Operational Training Unit.
PP: I see.
GR: And I think that is where you will have crewed up.
PP: Yeah.
GR: Can you remember anything about that?
PP: No.
GR: No.
PP: I just can’t remember. I think I was —
GR: Because you all —
PP: I don’t know.
GR: The way training went they put you in a room and you all talked to each other and sort of said I’ll be —
PP: I’ve always had really a thing about — I was pleased to have got commissioned but I wondered whether I’d have been any happier if I’d still been one of the boys.
GR: Still been one of the boys.
PP: Can I still say that? Please. That doesn’t.
GR: Of course you can. Yeah.
PP: Because all the other, all the crew were great, great friends.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And we messed in different.
GR: Yeah.
PP: I found it a bit of a —
GR: You moved up to the officer’s mess as opposed to the sergeant’s mess.
PP: Yeah.
GR: And I know plenty of people who have turned down promotion because they wanted to stay. Yeah.
PP: Well yeah. You didn’t, you didn’t know what it would amount to when you, when you finished your course.
GR: Yeah.
PP: You were classified one or the other.
GR: And your pilot was —
PP: Flight Sergeant Williams.
GR: Yeah.
PP: A great man. A lovely chap from Wales.
GR: Welsh. There we are.
PP: And there was two gunners. And a navigator who was an older person but a Jack the lad. For me being a young, oh a young nineteen year old.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Lad, you know. You were you had to move amongst the great big world with it’s —
GR: The worldly wise men of the world.
PP: Which wasn’t easy. In fact I was in, I think I was in, when we went to when we went on Operational Manna.
GR: Yeah.
PP: That was in there and I realise now that I was in, I was in, that was Operation Manna was in May ‘45.
GR: That’s right. Yes.
PP: And yet the 8th of May was —
GR: VE day.
PP: VE day and VE day and night I was in Lincoln. A hostel. A hostel.
GR: Right.
PP: Not a hostel. A pub as were so many other and it was a big
GR: Yeah.
PP: A big night and I don’t —
GR: I mean. Yeah. Just backtracking again I noticed you went to Heavy Conversion Unit where you —
PP: We went down to Hereford. Hereford somewhere.
GR: Yes 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit which is to get you used to the four engine bombers.
PP: Yeah.
GR: And then posted to 12 Squadron.
PP: 12 Squadron. That says I wasn’t, I was there only from the 9th of April it says here. Was it?
GR: Yes. You arrived at 12 Squadron 9th of April. You did a couple of cross country training flights. You went on a diversionary operation to Pemberg.
PP: What was that?
GR: Yeah. Again just checking with the logbook.
PP: Oh.
GR: Me and Peter are looking at the logbook and on the 20th of April —
PP: Yeah.
GR: It was a spam operation.
PP: What’s spam?
GR: A diversionary.
PP: Oh I see.
GR: Like a diversionary operation. So you was in the air for just over three hours. And then you started doing the food supplies to the Dutch so — and even though you was a bomb aimer you weren’t dropping bombs.
PP: No. No.
GR: You know, so —
PP: No. No. Had to — well to me the — because we had to agree. They’d called this, the Germans said there would be a truce.
GR: Yeah.
PP: If we kept down to, came down to five hundred feet. And because I’ve seen the photographs since of pictures of the the German guns on the ground but all I can recall when we came over were the guns, the guns that were looking at us from big buildings.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And well it was they were real and we were real.
GR: That’s right.
PP: But everybody were well behaved you see.
GR: The Germans had said they would not open fire.
PP: They said —
GR: Yeah.
PP: Not fire. And of course they did. A Flying Fortress got shot down.
GR: Yeah.
PP: In the process.
GR: Yeah. Yeah.
PP: So there were —
GR: ‘Cause that was the American Operation Chowhound. So the Americans were doing it at the same time.
PP: Yeah. They was.
GR: As Bomber Command.
PP: But to see the Dutch people, you know, running with prams trying to catch something.
GR: Yeah.
PP: It was just an unbelievable sight.
GR: Yeah.
PP: I don’t know as I felt like a great benefactor or something like that but it just seemed —
GR: Well it is the way that the Dutch people have always thought of Bomber Command and you speak to anybody from Holland and they were so grateful because I think the build up to it was that when the allies stalled in the Autumn of ’44 there was the Arnhem bridgehead which never happened so unfortunately Holland was really cut off.
PP: It was isolated.
GR: And it was quite a bad winter in 1944. And for literally you were getting on for eight months. They were literally being starved.
PP: And even the Germans were getting short of supplies I read.
GR: Yeah. So when you first flew over.
PP: That would have been the 7th of May.
GR: 1st of May. 1st of May. 1st, 3rd, and 5th of May — you did three operations. Noordwijk and two to Rotterdam.
PP: Yeah.
GR: So that was a very — yeah.
PP: Just to see them ‘cause it was quite, it was quite low for our, my pilot. I think. You know. He had a heavy load and it was, it was just a great big — it wasn’t a dead, dead weight type to the aircraft.
GR: Yeah.
PP: It gave. They were just loaded on to the bomb bays weren’t they? It was just a five thousand pounds.
GR: Five thousand pounds of food and supplies. Yeah. Yeah.
PP: In different sacks.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And they would come down at a —
GR: And then you celebrated as you just told me VE day in Lincoln. In a pub.
PP: Yeah. So where was I?
GR: Well the next day.
PP: I mean I can’t figure out where. I can’t figure out where I would have been. It must have been somewhere in Lincoln.
GR: Yes. Yeah.
PP: Because I thought I was at Staverton. Was there a place at Staverton?
GR: There was.
PP: Or Waddington. Because at —
GR: I’m trying to remember where 12 Squadron was flying from at the time.
PP: It can’t be far.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Because we got in to Lincoln city.
GR: Yes. Yeah.
PP: And the times when, I must have been stationed in Lincoln quite a bit because when we got a day off, time off, even in my officer’s uniform trying to get a lift on a builder’s lorry going down the A1 to London to get home.
GR: Well you celebrated VE day on the 8th of May and then the following day at half past four in the afternoon you were picking prisoners of wars, prisoners of war up from Brussels.
PP: Brussels. Yeah.
GR: In Operation Exodus.
PP: That was it. The truce.
GR: Yeah.
PP: The truce had been signed.
GR: Yeah. Yeah.
PP: And we just —
GR: No hangover from the night before.
PP: I don’t know. I don’t. Actually, in all fairness I don’t. As a young, I was a young lad I suppose but not, not as hard bitten as —
GR: Yeah. Well it wouldn’t be so bad the bomb aimer having a hangover because in theory —
PP: The pilot.
GR: You know as long as the pilot was —
PP: He was very well behaved.
GR: Yeah. As long as the pilot was well behaved.
PP: It was quite a big ordeal I think —
GR: Yeah.
PP: For the pilots.
GR: Yeah.
PP: There because you was as I say your trust in somebody wasn’t going to —
GR: Yeah.
PP: Upset you and five hundred feet not a lot of room.
GR: For manoeuvre.
PP: For manoeuvre.
GR: No.
PP: They were wonderful.
GR: Yeah.
PP: The pilots were.
GR: And then you did a couple, like I say, a couple of bringing prisoners of war back and then some more training and then some time in late May you were transferred from 12 Squadron to 156 Squadron at RAF Wyton.
PP: Yes. That’s in Cambridgeshire isn’t it?
GR: Yes. Yeah. Yeah.
PP: And I enquired the other day. It’s now housing centres. There’s no RAF unit.
GR: No.
PP: There at all now.
GR: No. No. There is. At RAF Wyton.
PP: Yeah.
GR: It is still a current RAF base.
PP: Is it?
GR: Yes.
PP: Oh.
GR: And 156 Squadron during the war was a Pathfinder squadron and the actual Pathfinder Museum is still there at RAF Wyton.
PP: It’s still at —
GR: Yes.
PP: I understood.
GR: Yeah. So they’re still there.
PP: That was quite a switch. We must have moved down from Lincoln. Not a great distance but —
GR: No. But can you remember was that probably getting ready to go out to India for —?
PP: It was a winding up because we were surplus to requirements.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And people with demob numbers which were much more beneficial than yours had to come home didn’t they?
GR: Yeah. They —
PP: So they, for me that was the fun part wasn’t it? All through the Suez Canal looking at olden times. Just like bible times alongside the canals.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And all the way to India through the gateway of India.
GR: And before you went out to India I can see you did a Cook’s Tour and I don’t know whether you took some ground crew with you but you flew over Antwerp, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund, Osnabruck and Munster.
PP: Oh I didn’t know that.
GR: Yeah. You were, you were with Flight Sergeant Williams.
PP: Yeah.
GR: Yeah. Have a quick look at the Ruhr.
PP: Wonderful.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Yes. It must have been.
GR: Yeah. And obviously you made your way out to India.
PP: That’s right ‘cause —
GR: Yeah.
PP: Spoiled really having a —
GR: Yeah. Was India on board a ship? Or —
PP: Went through the Suez Canal.
GR: Yeah.
PP: By boat. And got to India. Was in first came to Bombay. Bombay. Gateway was India. Through there. And went to different places. First I went up to the headquarters in Delhi. New Delhi. Just had a bit of an office job. Oh it’s so silly isn’t it? Really. When you think.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Such a switch. Had an office, a desk.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And a pile of papers and a lovely —
GR: From Lancasters over Europe to sitting behind a desk in India.
PP: With a punkahwallah with a —
GR: Fanning you.
PP: It was tied to his toe. He dropped back on his foot keeping you.
GR: Oh gawd yeah.
PP: And then ‘cause that was in the flowing month wasn’t it? In August of [60 70 D-Day 48 48 wasn’t it? ‘48. ‘48 was VJ day.] August.
GR: Yeah.
PP: I was in Delhi then. And then I was sent to Calcutta. Dream of a job. I was put in charge of the RAF Cinema Unit for all the aerodromes in India.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And flight lieutenant dealing with 20th Century Fox and MGM films. Screening the films.
GR: Wonderful.
PP: And to my, dare I mention it, to my [laughs] I was able to film or distribute a very well known film by some people. Jane Russell in, “The Outlaw.” It’s well worth looking up.
GR: Oh right.
PP: Because it was a wonderful encouraging [laughs] film. It was a saucy film but a great cowboy film.
GR: Right.
PP: Very well known for people that day. And — but of course thinking back and then.
GR: When did demob come up?
PP: Demob. That was in ‘48. Early ’48.
GR: Yeah.
PP: ’48.
GR: Back to England on a boat again or —?
PP: I don’t —
GR: Yeah,
PP: You’ve got me beat.
GR: Well there was no flying hours. So I assume you got back.
PP: No. Yeah. Got back to England and that was the come down really although I thought on the basis of my in charge of cinemas in India I was given — got big entries by the film people there.
GR: Yeah.
PP: That came back. J Arthur Rank was in charge of big cinemas in India then.
GR: Yeah.
PP: In England.
GR: In England. Yeah. What did you end up doing?
PP: Well after I ended up assistant manager at The Regal, Gravesend. [laughs] Oh dear. What a come down. And that wasn’t hard. I came home and I didn’t find it easy.
GR: No.
PP: I didn’t. But then we settled. Settled in and life went on.
GR: Was you —
PP: Highlights.
GR: Was you, was you married by then?
PP: Yes. I [pause] yes I married home in ’48.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Was it ‘48? I was married in ‘48. A beautiful, a beautiful lady. A lovely wife.
GR: And so how many years did you spend as assistant cinema manager? Or did that not last long?
PP: Yes. Well, not, not too long.
GR: No.
PP: Because had difficulty in re-establishing my, I was — due to my circumstances I was one of the very early single parents —
GR: Right.
PP: In 1953.
GR: Ok right. Yeah. Yeah.
PP: But now I’m —
GR: So things moved on because I know you told me before this conversation started you ended up with a bible bookshop.
PP: Yes.
GR: Which I believe you are very proud of.
PP: More than that.
GR: And were very successful.
PP: Greatest event. A great upturn in my life. Converted to the Lord Jesus came into my heart and changed my life at that time.
GR: Yeah.
PP: Although I was still a single mum — single one.
GR: Yeah.
PP: And my son is now sixty and he has a lovely new mum. Has had for fifty odd years. And so out of the Billy Graham conversion changes come. You look back. Became very interested in Christian literature and the power of the printed page.
GR: Yeah.
PP: To change your life. Many of us take to the printed page for one thing or another.
GR: Yes. Yes. Yeah.
PP: A conversion experience in our life and [pause] but now we are — had a bible bookshop as I say if I repeated myself. I might have repeated myself.
GR: It doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter. No.
PP: We had a bible bookshop and for twenty odd years became a very popular —
GR: Yeah.
PP: And successful because it’s the printed page going into people’s hands.
GR: Yeah. Which is great. And then —
PP: Thank you for this opportunity.
GR: And then graceful retirement up in Spalding.
PP: Well being ninety one and rejuvenated by the input from Bomber Command and people like yourself and —
GR: Well, that is very good of you to say and obviously —
PP: Well it has been. The effect. The recent visit to Coningsby.
GR: Yes.
PP: And the ability to —
GR: And the interest shown.
PP: You realise there’s something special.
GR: Yes.
PP: About the RAF.
GR: Yeah. The RAF and what you gentlemen did at the time. So —
PP: It’s the different people I met there.
GR: Yeah.
PP: You’re all one. People that, we came together and we were just great friends.
GR: Yes.
PP: I was amazed.
GR: Peter’s referring to a —
PP: Visit to —
GR: A visit and a get together at RAF Coningsby approximately three to four weeks ago.
PP: Yeah.
GR: Where there was ten Bomber Command veterans and we all got the chance to go in a Lancaster again.
PP: Oh. Tried to get in.
GR: Did you get in? You got in.
PP: Yeah. I did get in.
GR: Good. Good. Good.
PP: I still can’t quite believe that there was a time I got right up to the front. They must have been a time. It is a fantastic.
GR: Yeah.
PP: I’d like to try again when there’s more.
GR: That can be arranged. I shall now finish this and say, thank you Peter.



Annie Moody and Gary Rushbrook, “Interview with Peter John Peck,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024,

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