Hunter, Thomas Peck, born 06-10-1923 in Aldershot,
one of five children of Ramsey and Mary Hunter, a former soldier and civil servant, who moved to Edinburgh shortly after his birth. Hunter attended Tynecastle High School (where the poet Wilfred Owen had taught during recuperation in 1917) and Stenhouse School before becoming an apprentice stationer in Edinburgh. Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC
,18-03-1893 – 04-11-1918, was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and stood in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at the time. Owen was killed in action on 04-11-1918 during the crossing of the Sambre Oise Canal, exactly one week (almost to the hour) before the signing of the Armistice and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant the day after his death. His mother received the telegram informing her of his death on Armice Day, as the church bells were ringing out in celebration. He is buried at Ors Communal Cemetery. At the outbreak of the war Hunter served in the Home Guard and was called up on 8 May 1942 for military service. He enlisted as a hostilities–only (HO) marine on 23-06-1942. He was promoted Lance Coporal on 06-10-1943 and Temporary Corporal on 25-01-1945.
Death and burial ground of Hunter, Thomas Peck.
Hunter was 21 years old, and a temporary corporal in 43 Commando during the Spring 1945 offensive in Italy during WW2 when the following incident took place. He was awarded the VC for his actions during Operation Roast. On 02-04-1945 at Lake Comacchio, Italy, Corporal Hunter, who was in charge of a Bren gun section, offered himself as a target to save his troop. Seizing the Bren gun, he charged alone across 200 yards of open ground under most intense fire towards a group of houses where three Spandau machine-guns were lodged. So determined was his charge that the enemy soldiers were demoralized and six gunners surrendered. The remainder fled. Hunter cleared the house, changing magazines as he ran and continued to draw enemy fire until most of the troop had reached cover, Hunter was killed, firing accurately to the last. Federico Montanari sent me a photo of the crash spot
. There can be no doubt that Corporal Hunter offered himself as a target in order to save his Troop, and only the speed of his movement prevented him being hit earlier. The skill and accuracy with which he used his Bren gun is proved by the way he demoralized the enemy, and later did definitely silence many of the Spandaus firing on his Troop as they crossed open ground, so much so that under his covering fire elements of the Troop made their final objective before he was killed. Throughout the operation his magnificent courage, leadership and cheerfulness had been an inspiration to his comrades. Danish national, Major Anders Lassen
of the Special Boat Service (SBS) was also awarded a VC posthumously in the same action. Corporal Hunter is buried on the war cemetery of Argenta Gap in Italy, next to Anders Lassen. The picture was sent to me by Massimo Biolcati.