I’ve conducted a number of ceremonies recently for former members of the armed forces, and I’ve been very touched to see their old comrades turn out wearing their berets and regimental ties, accompanied by a standard bearer with the colours bearing their battle honours.
Peter’s funeral had all of those elements, but what made it extra special was that it was almost entirely written by his family, and that two of his granddaughters had the courage to deliver it.
Sarah read us the tribute, in which we learned that Peter had survived being blown up by a V1 rocket during WWII, and that he’d joined the Scots Guards partly because the queue to join the Army at his local recruitment office was shorter than the queue to join the Royal Navy, and partly because he liked the uniform.
Like many soldiers of his generation he served all over the world, from Borneo to Jamaica. He was a great cook, particularly renowned for his curries which is surprising because Peter couldn’t stand curry, and he never ate it himself! Not only had he cooked for both the Queen and the Queen Mother during his long career, he had even danced with Princess Margaret, so his was quite a tale…
Sarah delivered it with great aplomb and after we committed his body to its final end, her big sister Jenny read us a poem that Peter had written called ‘Cockney Jock’.
Peter had grown up in London, so of course he was an unusual recruit for The Scots Guards. He wrote this poem back in the 1960’s and it was actually published in the Scots Guards Magazine in 1968. I don’t think their archive is digitally available, so I asked the family if I could publish it here and I am very pleased they said yes.