Burton, Peter Wightwick

Date of birth:
(Bradford/West Yorkshire, Great Britain)
Service number:
386802
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Peter Burton was born in Bradford. His father was a civil servant serving in India. After his education in England he chose career in business and in the late 1930’s chose to study the German language. Living in Berlin he personally witnessed the Nazi regime and on at least two occasions heard Hitler speak. Seeing what was on the cards, he first moved to Switzerland and on the eve of war he travelled across France to return home. The day after war was declared he volunteered for service with the Indian Army and volunteered for the Home Guard. He served with the Indian Army from 1940 to 1946 then returned home to Bradford. He was awarded the MBE in 1983 for services as Calderdale Council’s Industrial Development Officer.

Promotions:
September 10th, 1941: 2nd Lieutenant
September 11th, 1948: Captain

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Temporary Captain
Unit:
16th Punjab Regiment, Indian Army
Awarded on:
July 27th, 1944
Action:
The recommendation for Military Cross is dated 25th April 1944 and recommended and signed by General later Field Marshal Viscount Slim. “In the early morning of 13th April 1944 when the Bn was holding points Spit & Polish S.W. of Buthidaung a vague message was received at Bn HQ, that one of the forward Coys had been over-run by the enemy and requesting help. More detailed information was essential and T/Capt, Burton who was Adjt immediately volunteered to go forward in the dark over country in which enemy patrols were active and in which mines were laid. His carrier hit a mine and two men were wounded, however T/Capt Burton proceeded forward on foot with one man and eventually reached one of the forward posts. He found a small part of the position over-run, the Coy Comd wounded and some 25 enemy in 3 bunker positions in one corner of the main position. Having seen to the disposal of casualties T/Capt Burton then took command and organised and directed the eviction of the enemy from their bunker positions. It was impossible to use Arty as the posts were too close to our own. However after some 5 hours the entire enemy party had been exterminated and the position stabilised. This action took place under severe enemy mortar & MG fire, but under the leadership of T/Capt Burton was entirely successful, with comparatively few losses to our own troops. T/Capt Burton then reorganised the defences of the positions and held it against several determined enemy attacks and under enemy shell and mortar fire for 6 days and nights until relieved. The successful reoccupation and defence of these features was in great measure due to the coolness, powers of leadership and complete disregard for his own personal safety of T/Capt Burton who showed ability and assumed responsibility well above his rank”.
Military Cross (MC)

Sources

  • - The London Gazette Issue 35387 published on the 19 December 1941
    - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36627 published on the 25 July 1944
    - Second Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 38446 published on the 29 October 1948
    - Bosleys