Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Lance Corporal Walter Peeler. V.C.

Lance Corporal Walter Peeler, 3rd Pioneer Battalion, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Broodseinde Ridge, during the battle of Ypres, Belgium.

Walter Peeler was born near Castlemaine, Victoria. He enlisted in February 1916 in time to join the 3rd Pioneer Battalion. He was slightly wounded during the battle of Messines in June 1917.

On 4 October 1917 Peeler was one of several Lewis gunners attached to the 37th Battalion for the attack on Broodseinde Ridge. In the forefront, he led attacks against a series of enemy posts, eventually accounting for over 30 of the enemy. A few days later Peeler was wounded and while recuperating received the Victoria Cross from the King.

During the Second World War, Peeler understated his age and enlisted in the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion. After serving in Syria, he was captured with his unit in Java during 1942 and spent three and a half years as a prisoner of the Japanese. He was a Custodian of Victoria's Shrine of Remembrance between 1934 and 1940 and from 1945 until 1964. He was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1961.

Peeler was awarded the Victoria Cross, British Empire Medal, service medals for the First and Second World Wars, and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

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