Peter Aldcroft Downward was born on 10 April 1924 in the Isle of Man, where he was educated at King William's College before enlisting in the Army as a Rifleman in the Rifle Brigade in 1942. After being commissioned in the South Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Volunteers) he volunteered for Airborne Forces.
Lt Peter Downward completed parachute course No 126 on 4 August 1944 and was posted to the 13th Parachute Battalion.
He took part in the Ardennes offensive in Winter 1944-5 and then Operation Varsity, the Rhine Crossing on 24 March 1945. He led his platoon in the advance across Germany and on return to the UK prepared for further operations in the Far East. Whilst they were preparing for the airborne operation to re-capture Malaya news came through of the surrender of Japan and they went onto internal security operations in the Dutch East Indies. From there he was posted to Palestine.
In 1948 he transferred to the Glider Pilot Regiment and found himself as a second-pilot with RAF Transport Command flying in and out of Berlin during the 1948-49 blockade.
In 1951, Downward (as a Captain in the Glider Pilot Regiment) took an RAF light aircraft flight to Korea in support of the Commonwealth Division in a reconnaissance role; he was awarded the DFC in 1953. After attending the RAF Staff College, there followed a period of staff appointments and regimental duties before taking command of the Lancashire Regiment in Aden. He was awarded the DSO for his part in the reoccupation of Crater in July 1967. A tour with NATO in Norway preceeded his appointments as Commander Berlin Infantry Brigade, then Commandant School of Infantry and, finally, his appointment as GOC West Midland District at Shrewsbury. He retired from the Active List in 1979 at the end of 37 years service.
As a retired Major-General, he was appointed as Lieutenant Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea Pensioners, and in 1989 became Governor of the Military Knights of Windsor until his final retirement in 2000.
From 1978 to 1983 he was Colonel of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment,also Colonel Commandant of the King's Division and Honorary Colonel of Liverpool University OTC. He was President of the British Korean Veterans' Association from 1986 to 1998.
Awarded CB in 1979 and KCVO in 1999.
Sir Peter Downward died on 18 October 2014 aged 90 years old.
Compiled with assistance from Peter DownwardRead More