Pirie, Peter Francis

  • Township: North Oxford
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment number: 59802
  • Date of birth: October 13, 1895.
  • Where born: Golden, British Columbia.
  • Date of death: January 2, 1983
  • Burial location: Royal Canadian Legion Cemetery, Chilliwack, British Columbia
  • Wars Served: World War I
    World War II
  • Commemorated: on a plague in the Belleville Amouries, Ontario, Canada
  • Years of service: Nov.7, 1914 - Jan.25,1919 Sept.1, 1939 - Dec. 1945
  • Country enlisted with: Canada

Biography

Prior to enlisting Peter was on the payroll of the 15th Regiment, Argyll Light Infantry at Belleville, Ontario. He enlisted into the 21st Battalion at Kingston, Ontario Nov. 7, 1914. Listed as next of kin was his father Thomas F. Pirie of RR #3 Ingersoll (North Oxford). He was assigned to "H" Company which was later reorganized into "D" Company. May 6, 1915 he embarked on the RMS Metagama at Montreal, Quebec and disembarked at Devonport, England on May 15, 1915. From there Arthur proceeded to West Sandling Camp. They set sail aboard the St. Seiriol and arrived at Boulogne, France on Sept. 15, 1915. On Nov. 11, 1915 Peter was appointed to rank of Lance Corporal. He was admitted to No. 7 General Hospital at St. Omer with measles on May 10,1916 and on May 30th transferred to No.14 Stationary Hospital at Wimereux before being invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Cambria. He was in 2 hospitals before being transferred to the Military Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park, Epsom. On July 14,1916 he was discharged from hospital and posted to the 39th Reserve Battalion at West Sandling Camp. Then on Sept. 10, 1916 he was posted to the 21st Battalion and the next day arrived at Canadian Base Depot (CBD) at Havre, France. On Sept 15,1916, Arthur was promoted to rank of Corporal. They joined the 2nd Entrenching Battalion in the field on Oct. 4 and on Oct 6, 1916 they joined the 21st Battalion in the field. Oct. 19,1916 he was appointed to Lance Sergeant. On Nov.3, Peter was appointed to rank of Acting Sergeant which was made permanent on May 9, 1917. On May 24, 1917 appointed to rank of Acting Colour Sergeant Major before reverting to Acting Sergeant on June 18, 1917.  On Aug. 15, 1917, Peter was transferred to No.23 Casualty Clearing Station with a shrapnel wound to his hip. In Aug. he was invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Stad Antwerpen and admitted to Norfold War Hospital at Thorpe Norwich. On Nov. 2, 1917 Arthur was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for his actions at the battle for Hill 70.  The Citation reads: " For conspicuous courage and strong determination. His Officer a casualty and himself wounded, he led his platoon against the enemy, forcing them to retire. He again was wounded seriously but refused to leave the line until ordered by an Officer. After nearly two years service in the trenches, this NCO has at all times been a splendid example to his men. He has been recommended on two previous occasions. "

Peter's last hospital in England was the Canadian Convalescent Depot at Woodcote Park, Epsom before he was shipped to Havre, France, Mar.29,1918 and the 21st Battalion. He joined them in the field on April 12, 1918. He was placed On Command to the 1st Reserve Battalion pending Commission and then to the Officer Training Course at Bexhill, England, Sept. 8th. Posted to the 21st Battalion on Dec. 22 he arrived at Havre, France on the following day. Jan. 14, 1919, Peter joined his Battalion in the field and was posted to "A" company as Lieutenant. On April 3, he left France and disembarked at Southampton where he proceeded to Witley Camp. Peter arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Jun 19 having sailed on the SS Aquitania 5 days earlier. He proceeded by train to Montreal, Quebec where he was discharged on June 25, 1919. His proposed residence listed was RR #3 Ingersoll, Ontario. On July 30, 1921 the 1914-1918 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal were sent to Columbia College, New Westminster, British Columbia.

During 1928, he joined the New Westminster Regiment, a Militia unit, at Chilliwack, British Columbia and rose to the position of Commanding Officer of "D" Company by 1933. Between 1929 and 1939 he attended the following courses at Esquimalt, British Columbia: Lieutenant to Captain, Captain to Major, Staff Course, Machine Gun, and Equestrian.

On Sept.1, 1939 the New Westminster Regiment was mobilized and Major Pirie, in command of "D" Company, was instructed to put his Company on "a war footing". The Regiment proceeded by train to Camp Borden, Ontario for training on May 27, 1941. On Jan. 8, 1942 they embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the troopship Bergensfjord. On Jan. 18 they disembarked at Gourock, Scotland and proceeded by train to Bordon, England. On April 26, Peter proceeded to Witley Camp to be in Command of the Reinforcement Company of the Wesmtinster Regiment. After a short illness, he was transferred to the Canadian Ordinance Reinforcement Unit (CORU) as a Company Commander. Peter was eventually to become the 3rd Division's Education Officer based north west of Brighton, England. After a short period in Yorkshire prior to the Normandy landing, he was posted to London as the Educational Officer for Canadian Hospitals in the United Kingdom. Returning to Canada at war's end in 1945, he was discharged from the Canadian Forces at Vancouver, British Columbia in December, 1945. 

Peter authoured "The Stump Ranch" in 1975. It outlined his life as both a civilian and a soldier.  He enjoyed ranching and died Jan.2,1983 at Sardis, British Columbia.From his own book, here is a description of the event of the shrapnel wound to his hip. "As I turned around to return to my platoon, a shell hit behind me and I felt a heavy bang in the small of my back. I thought that one of the cobblesones had been thrown up by the blast. I went back to the platoon. They told me they never thought that I would walk out of an exploding shell like that, alive. I stood around, talking to the men. All at once I felt a stinging feeling on my hip, so I put a hand to it. My hand came away covered with blood. Then I saw blood running down my pants onto the ground. Later I was told that the men in the platoon had noticed the shell hit and had shouted "Pete has got it." They thought that I had been killed. They also told me that the first thing I said when I found out I had been hit was "They got me at last."  When I saw my blood running on the ground, I felt panic rising in me. "You better play it cool," I said to myself, "or you will not get out."  I turned the platoon over to Sergeant LaPlant, left all my equipment and walked toward the rear, looking for a regimental aid post."

Information was obtained from his book as well as from Tom Cussons.

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