The King's Royal Rifle Corps


Sir Peter Laurence MC KCMG


As a Lieutenant in the 11th Battalion KRRC, Peter Laurence led daring raids on enemy occupied houses in Italy in 1943-4. He had the use of a PIAT (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank weapon), mortars and Bren guns. He was using the operation to gain invaluable information about enemy defences. For these raids he was awarded the Military Cross, the citation stating 'This officer has shown outstanding qualities of leadership'. In the 60s the children's comic 'Victor' published an illustrated story of his wartime deeds.

Peter Harold Laurence was born on 18th Feb 1923. His father was the Dean of Leicester. Educated at Radley after winning a Classics scholarship, he was commissioned into the KRRC for the duration of the Second World War. After the war he went up to Christ Church, Oxford. He took an exam for the Foreign Office and came top. He served in Athens, Trieste and Prague where he was arrested for spying in the Tara mountains. He also served in Cairo and Berlin, after which he spent a year as a visiting fellow at All Souls, Oxford where he wrote a book on Ostpolitik. Later, since he was fluent in Turkish, he was appointed Ambassador to Turkey and took up the post in Ankara in 1980. It was a time of turbulence leading up to the establishment of a military government.

He was appointed CMG in 1976 and KCMG in 1981. When he retired he moved to Devon where he took up various voluntary appointments with Exeter University and the Cathedral. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Devon in 1989. He was married in 1948 to Elizabeth Way, and had two sons. He died in 2007 his obituary appearing in the Daily Telegraph on 6th December.


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by Stephen Luscombe