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Hussars hunt for relatives of war hero

PUBLISHED: 10:29 14 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:46 30 June 2010

A GULF War veteran compiling a roll of honour for his own regiment, the 11th Hussars, is appealing for help to trace relatives of a second world war hero.

A GULF War veteran compiling a roll of honour for his own regiment, the 11th Hussars, is appealing for help to trace relatives of a second world war hero.

L/Cpl Peter Joseph Kennedy, 24, was killed in action in August 1944 in France - he left a widow whose parents lived in Gorleston.

David Easom told The Mercury: “I have the honour and the privilege of writing the roll of honour for the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1939-1945 (1946-1947). It will be the first-ever written memorial dedicated to the 165 members and the four attached personnel of the Regiment who sadly never came back.

“Among their number is L/Cpl Peter Joseph Kennedy, 7920971, 1 Troop 'D' Sqn, 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own), Royal Armoured Corps. He was born on July 13, 1920 at Oldcotes, Worksop, Notts, and was employed as a railway clerk at Newark with the LNER.

“He joined the Hussars in 1940 and died on August 2, 1944.

“He was the husband of Betty Kennedy, née Camm, who was serving at the time in the WAAF at Kingsbridge, Devon.”

The local connection is through Betty Camm, whose parents lived at the time of Peter's loss in Gorleston.

Mr Easom added: “Having tried the Retford area without any joy I would be most grateful for your consideration of this request to see if we can trace Peter's wife.”

The 11th Hussars arrived in the area of Chaumont at 4am on August 1, 1944 after a 12- mile drive from St Andre which had taken four hours. The role of the Regiment was to reconnoitre the roads leading to Aunay-sur-Odon and Mont Pincon.

Moving out at 6am after two hours' sleep, D Sqn pushed forward on the left flank throughout the day reaching Cahagnes. In the early morning mist of August 2, having pushed on a further two miles towards Aunay, there was a report that the road ahead had been cleared by Infantry working ahead supported by tanks of the 5th Dragoon Guards.

Lt R G G Copeland (1 Troop) stopped to investigate a tank about 100 yards ahead.

Believing that the 5th Dragoons was ahead, Lt Copeland walked towards the tank to ask what the hold-up was. He was within 50 yards before he realised with horror it was a German Panther tank. He turned back to shout to the troop to get out, and ran for cover, but as he did so a German sniper shot him.

Lt Copeland lay by the roadside for nearly four hours desperately wounded before being rescued.

In the meantime the rest of the troop was in serious trouble. Lt Copeland's own armoured car was knocked out by the Panther, and as the white scout car was turning away it brought down a telegraph pole which in turn resulted in the ditching of the second armoured car - the Germans all the time firing into them at close

range.

When at last the remains of the troop got clear, Peter Kennedy was missing - later found by the men of the Queen's Regiment as being killed in action.

L/Cpl was initially buried in the Place of Heroes Cemetery, Aunay-sur-Odon, before being transferred to Banneville-Campagne War Cemetery, Calvados, France where on each Remembrance Day local schoolchildren still today whisper Peter's name as they lay flowers before his headstone.

Mr Easom said: “I am trying to trace relatives or anyone else who knew Peter and his family for information, which I will include in Peter's entry within the roll of honour. It will also offer Peter's family the opportunity to have their own dedication to him included, which will conclude his entry.”

Anyone who can help Mr Easom can write to him at The Mews Cottage, (Rear Of) 1 Acacia Road, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV32 6EF or on email: husrollho@yahoo.co.uk


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