LONG-time British resident Peter Winter died in Palma last week after a short illness. A Veteran of the D-Day landings, following is a tribute to their father from his daughters Susie and Carol.

PETER was one of four children. He was born in Egypt in 1923. His mother died when his younger brother was born and John his older brother died in childhood. His father, an eminent military doctor served mainly in India, so his early childhood was one of “ayas” and Indian sunshine.

As with many military families he was sent “home” to England for school. First a convent and then Epsom College where most of his attention was taken up with sport in which he excelled. He was a natural athlete, captain of rugby, boxing, and good at anything of a competitive sporting nature. Holidays were spent on farms around England and Wales and he rode horses competitively both show jumping and racing. He occasionally caught up with his sister and brother Pam and Bill.

When the Second World War broke out, he left school, lied about his age and volunteered for the Royal Marines. He had a distinguished war service, becoming one of the youngest Captains in 47 Royal Marine Commandos. He led his men “Y” troop from the front and was injured on the beaches at D Day. He came back to England to Commando training and went back to the front line to take part in the liberation of Holland at Walcheren. He was a fun loving, dashing and handsome figure (particularly in uniform) always with fast motorbike or car and a surprise party planned. In 1952 he married Mary Gemmell, Susie's mother.

Peter's civilian life was also one of great adventure. He worked the oil industry in Kuwait with Red Adair, Trinidad during the riots where Susie lived as a baby, and later Canada where he got a commercial pilot's licence. Settling down, working and family life was rather mundane and the family acquired their first boat VEGA in the late 50*s. He used the boat to pilot channel swimmers and settled on it in France when his marriage broke up in the 60*s. Moving from France to Spain he settled in Altea now working with boats full time. He met and became great friends with King Leka of Albania. Peter married again in 1967 to Margaret Willan, and the family moved to Palma. When Carol was two, she was christened at sea off Cabrera, on the family boat ADSUM. The visitors book from the boat had many special signatures including a number of the royal families of Europe. He sailed regularly with Don Juan, Count of Barcelona, King Juan Carlos's father.

Spain was undoubtedly his “spiritual” home. He loved the people, the countryside, the climate, the way of life and the natural friendships that are made. He had many longstanding English and Spanish friends. The local people around Santa Catalina became his “village” life. Manoli has been constantly there for him, looking after his home for over 30 years. He watched her children grow up and her husband Juan build their own home. The yearly family ”feast” days that took place, with Paella cooked by Manoli are imprinted on Carol's memory. He met Patsy Wright in Majorca and later, for a period of some twenty years they became firm friends and travelling companions, travelling the world together, often putting it to rights. These years brought some of his happiest memories. The Antarctic trip leaving perhaps the biggest impression and a continuing fascination for penguins and polar bears.

On returning to France for the 50th Anniversary D Day celebrations, Peter met up again with other D Day veterans and Mickie O'Brian (here today) had a lot to do with persuading him to take on the chairmanship of the 47 Royal Marine Commando Association. He devoted the last ten years to the organisation, taking it from strength to strength and the 60th Anniversary celebrations last year were a high spot. He missed the boat for France because he was in hospital but discharged himself against doctors orders to ensure he was there on the next ferry.

He loved his computer and kept up with many friends via the internet, those who helped him do this became lifelong friends. He has used the internet for all his telephoning enabling him to have long chats and keep in touch with people all over the world at no cost! Determined to be independent he had a great team who kept him going at home who were, of course, given nicknames and teased mercilessly. He was his own man, loyal, opinionated (you always had to agree with him), courageous, and who loved a good time. He was maddening and infuriating at the same time but always there for a friend “in need”. A real “one off”. We will all miss him. ” Editor's note: Staff at the Bulletin will be forever grateful to Peter Winter for all his help and co-operation over the years.


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