Service number 182399
Born: 5th January 1915
Died: July 29th 1944
Peter was the son of Bayard Erle Randall and his wife Marjorie Williamson.
He was educated at Wellesley House, Broadstairs from 1924. His father died in 1926. In 1928, he went on to Harrow where he was an Entrance Scholar. He Matriculated in 1933 and was awarded a History Scholarship. He took a 2nd in 1936.
After going down, he read for the Bar becoming a pupil in Melford Stevenson’s Chambers. He was called by The Inner Temple in 1938.
On September 24th 1936, he married Maria Margarita Gloria - Glorita – Lacroze at Holy Redeemer Church, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. They had two daughters and a son.
At the outbreak of war, he enlisted in the 1st Battalion The Highland Light Infantry.
He was killed in action on July 29th 1944 in Normandy. His son was six weeks old.
He is buried in Brouay War Cemetery Plot III. A. 2.
Amongst the many letters which were received by his mother, was the following from Daniel Bonar who was a Major in the Highland Light Infantry born in Greenock in 1898 and died in Dairsie in March 1988.
It took me some time to believe that poor Peter had been killed. I simply could not realise it when told. I wonder if you have been told the actual details? It appears from your letter that you have not, so perhaps it would be of some comfort to you to know exactly what happened. Of course Peter was not with the Bn. as you may know, but was doing Liaison officer between Brigade and the Battalion. Peter was so keen that not only did he keep both posted with the latest trend of the operations on our own front but used to go away in his jeep to find out what was happening on other parts of the front. Whether Peter was obliged to attend the operation being carried out when he was killed I cannot say, but it was an operation being carried out by another Brigade, but with assistance from the HLI. Perhaps because the HLI was taking part Peter felt he would like to be there and report to the Brigadier and the Battalion on the success or otherwise of it. The Germans had posted Machine Guns round the hedges of a field and were causing a lot of trouble and it was decided that the 2nd.Bn The Monmouthshire Regiment should make an evening attack and clear away this trouble. For the purpose of the operation they wanted to use flame throwers and as their men had little or no experience of using flame throwers the Divisional Commander decided that the H.L.I. would put in theirs as they were considered the most experienced in this work. It appears that Peter, with three others (members of the Mons. Regt. I believe) were standing in a slit trench overlooking the scene of the operation and were quite a fair distance away, just what they thought would be safe enough and at the same time allow them to see the progress of the battle. While the battle was in progress one single bullet hit Peter in the head and he uttered “I’m hit” and sank down and died immediately. He was brought back next morning to us, Scottie(Captain South, RASC, was Peter’s best friend at Brigade HQ and he did all the work in connection with Peter’s burial, along with me. I had a coffin made for the dear lad, as Scottie and I could not bear to think of dear Peter being buried the some as the other lads, as you will realise there were no such things as coffins for burials when so many unfortunate lads had be buried. Peter could not have suffered at all as he was shot through the head and from what I have told you he must have died quite instantaneously. I suppose you know he is buried at a little place called Bronay which is not far from Caen and Bayeux. It is a sweet little village and the graveyard is situated near the village church. It was to be a permanent burial place so there would be no removals by the Graves Commission. Hylton is also buried in the same place. It was so sad for me to see my two best friends losing their lives so early in the battle. The day before his death Peter brought me two mushrooms early in the morning so that I could have them for my breakfast and as his son was being baptised on the following Sunday he said he wanted Robert Borwick and I to come and have supper with him at Brigade HQ on the Sunday evening. But alas, poor Peter was killed the next evening. It is all so dreadful and I can realise the awful loss you have sustained because because I know that no son could have been finer than dear old Peter. I often think of him and dear old Hylton as well. They were both fine lads and we miss them very much....
With gratitude and acknowledgement to Peter Randall’s children.