Oak Bay man a forgotten hero

The story of Capt. Fritz includes battlefield heroics, shadowy spies and political manoeuvring.

Sam McBride with his book The Bravest Canadian.

The mysterious story of an Oak Bay man who was one of Canada’s most decorated and least known military heroes  is finally being told in a book by Sam McBride, thanks to his discovery of a treasure trove of forgotten letters dating back more than 85 years.

The book, The Bravest Canadian, is the story of Capt. F.T. (Fritz) Peters, and it’s a tale that includes battlefield heroics, shadowy spies and political manoeuvring that might well have been torn from a work of fiction.

But the tale is real, and recounts the personality, motivation and sense of chivalry that inspired the man who won the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Service Cross and bar and the highest medal given to non-Americans by the U.S., the Distinguished Service Cross.

“The only fear that this man had was of boredom,” said McBride.

McBride has spent the past few years transcribing the letters and searching through archives to find out the real story of this Canadian hero, who just happens to be McBride’s great uncle.

“Fritz’s background included some amazing people, and I guess he felt he had to do something spectacular to live up to the family name,” he said.

Most of Peters’ medals came in recognition of his bravery  during the Allied invasion of North Africa at the Vichy French port of Oran.

Although Peters survived that action, his unit endured a staggering 90-per-cent casualty rate. His exploits were so famous that they were even recounted in war comics of the time.

If that were the whole story, it would be spectacular enough, but the tale of Capt. Peters also includes his exploits during the First World War and another period during which he worked with the likes of Ian Fleming of James Bond fame and Kim Philby (who was later discovered to be a Russian spy).

That service with Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service saw Peters running a spy school and the pioneering the use of plastic explosives and time delay fuses as well as the technology behind mini-submarines for use in spying.

Why Peters is not better known is a story in itself. His intelligence work meant that some of the files were destroyed or declared secret and a sensitivity to the once-again French allies in the latter part of the war meant that accounts of battles against the Vichy French were politically discouraged.

The story has now been told, however, and the book is  being released this Friday (Oct. 26) – the 70th anniversary of the North African campaign where Fritz won his honours.

Peters was killed in an air crash on Nov. 13, 1942 in England.


Just Posted

Oak Bay Police melt dozens of guns into metal cube

Set of rare dueling muskets could go to museum

VicPD seek missing 82-year-old man with long grey beard

Arthur Shaw was last seen Dec. 6, those who see him should call 911

Victoria looks to suspend taxi obligations as ride hailing services arrive

Ten ride hailing companies are set to come to Greater Victoria in the new year

Judge’s decision set for January in dangerous driving trial for crash that left Saanich girl unresponsive

Tenessa Nikirk is charged with one count of dangerous driving after Leila Bui was struck in 2017

B.C. woman charged in connection to stolen vehicle smash-up in Kamloops

Kersten Ina Peters was arrested in the Fraser Valley on Friday, Dec. 6

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Russell Troupe finds a comfort zone in small Island community

Family gathering with two parents and five kids a common scene around Chemainus

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Truck with body inside found at bottom of lake near Kootenay ferry

Investigators believe no foul play is expected but are unsure how the vehicle ended up in the Arrow Lakes

VIDEO: Calgary man narrowly escapes from avalanche while running at Lake Louise

Bryon Howard caught the entire wild experience on camera

Most Read