The British Empire Library

Special Forces Commander: The Life And Wars Of Peter Wand-Tetley OBE MC Commando, SAS, SOE and Paratrooper

by Michael Scott

Courtesy of OSPA

Ronald Bird (N. Nigeria 1944-1963)
The major part of this biography by Colonel Michael Scott, a distinguished soldier himself, concerns Peter's remarkable and courageous service in the Army from 1939 to 1946. This review deals only with Peter's time in the Colonial Service etc. After such a distinguished and adventurous career in the Special Forces and many audacious exploits which earned him an MC it would have been difficult for Peter to settle down to the fairly prosaic life of a civilian anywhere.

Appointed to the Colonial Administrative Service in 1947 and posted to Northern Nigeria he could have been sent to one of the livelier places with difficult and aggressive pagan tribes such as the "unsettled area" of the Gwoza Hills or where there was a certain amount of unrest in the southern borders of the North in Llorin Province. Instead he spent his first four years as an ADO in quiet postings In Minna and Niger Province. I suspect the work did not stretch his talents sufficiently and he found It somewhat boring, particularly as there was little money available for worthwhile development work, as he seems to have complained with some force. After 4 years Peter did a spell in the Lagos Secretariat where he seems to have enjoyed a somewhat hectic social life. His next posting was to the somewhat isolated station of Wukari in Benue Province which was probably too quiet for him and he might have found more fulfilment elsewhere In the Province.

In 1958 Peter was posted to the Kaduna Secretariat where he spent the last 5 years of his time in the Colonial Service. He seems to have felt that we achieved little in Northern Nigeria in spite of all our efforts to raise the standard of living of the ordinary people. Some of us have a slightly different view of what we may have achieved despite limited time and limited money.

Only seven pages of the book deal with Peter's life in Nigeria and his work there. He left Nigeria in 1964 on appointment to the Department of Technical Co-operation and a job with the East Africa Common Services Organisation in Kenya. In 1967 Peter was appointed to the Corps of Specialists of the Ministry of Overseas Development and then served in Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles and the West Indies, but the account of his time and work in these countries is very brief. In 1978 he retired for good to Jersey.

British Empire Book
Michael Scott
Pen and Sword Military
978 1 848 8846 73 9


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