It is with great sadness that I must pass on the news from Kerry, that his Grandfather, Peter Carrie, Flight Engineer with Bernard Lukin’s crew passed away early this morning at the age of 102.
Peter’s remarkable story has been featured more than once in the blog over the last few years – so remarkable in fact, as to warrant its reproduction now as a tribute to Peter and his time during the War.
Peter Carrie who flew with Bernard Lukins crew as Flight Engineer between February and July 1945. If the stories of the boys who flew in the Squadron are all not remarkable, then Peter’s is even more so.
Born 1915 in Dundee, Scotland, he joined the Army at 19 in the Tank Corp and served in India and the Khyber Pass. During WW2 he was evacuated from Dunkirk , they found him covered in dead bodies and thought he only had hours to live – in Kerry’s words, he was like a ‘pin cushion’ with shrapnel wounds all over his body.
The King sent a letter to his parents when he made it to a military hospital informing them of his condition. The Army found him unfit for service so Peter joined the RAF and ended up with Bernard Lukin’s crew at Mepal in February 1945.
See the Lukin’s crew Op history here.
Often when I state superlatives I add, ‘as far as I am aware’ – in this case I don’t have to. Peter was the only Chelsea Pensioner to also hold the Bomber Command clasp.
On the 23rd of April 2014 Peter was presented with his Bomber Command clasp by General Sir Redmond Watt, KCB KCVO CBE DL
The citation at the awarding of Peter’s Bomber Command clasp was as follows:
“We are here today to mark a significant event in the life of In-Pensioner Peter Carrie. Peter has the distinction of having served with both the Army from 1934 – 1940 and the RAF from 1943 – 1946. After much public pressure to recognise those who bravely set out from bases all along the east coast across France and Germany on perilous missions, the Bomber Command clasp was finally instituted in 2013. To that end, Peter is the only Chelsea Pensioner to qualify for such an award.
Peter was as a Flight Engineer on many Lancaster bombing missions,including those on Hamburg and Wesel. He served with 75 (NZ) Squadron, which was constantly engaged against Germany from 1940 to VE day. According to statistics, this squadron flew more sorties than any other Allied heavy bomber squadron. It suffered the second highest casualties of all the Allied squadrons, and dropped the second largest weight of bombs of any Allied squadron.Miraculously Peter and his crew members made it safely home following each mission, although on many occasions his aircraft was hit by enemy flack and even lost the occasional engine.
Some 55,000 Airmen who served with Bomber Command were killed during wartime raids and Peter can testify to losing many friends and colleagues on these daring missions. He will be the first to say that he was no hero and saw his brave feats as just part of his job, however his modesty belies a man of integrity and immense courage in the face of such danger”.
I am sure you would all wish to join me in passing heart felt condolences to Kerry and Peter’s surviving family at this sad time.
Another of these incredible old men has left us.