Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Maj Peter George Wade


Peter was born on 5th December 1924 in Twickenham, the only son of Ernest Wentworth & Winifred Wade. He had two elder sisters, Doreen Winifred & Betty Aurielle. His father was a surgeon in the RAMC, serving in both World Wars, was awarded the OSO in 1918 and retired as a Brigadier in 1946. Because his father was stationed in India, once Peter reached school age he was sent to boarding school in England, first in Eastbourne and then at Sherborne School in Dorset.

In October 1939, while Peter was at school in Sherborne, his father, mother and two sisters were returning from India on the SS Yorkshire, when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Spain. Of the 281 passengers and crew, 58 were lost, Including Peter's mother and two sisters, but his father was rescued.

Peter left Sherborne in 1942, and went to St John's, Cambridge to study Mechanical Science, also rowing for the College 2nd VIII. However, after only a year he left university and started Officer Training with the Royal Engineers, becoming a Lieutenant in 1944. He was posted to Europe during the last year of the war and was wounded by shrapnel in 1945. He was promoted to Captain in 1946. In 1948 he returned to St John's to finish his interrupted studies, during which time he was a member of the St John's College Rugby team that won the Cambridge University Intercollegiate cup in both 1949 & 1950. He also rowed in the College Rugby boat. Returning to the Army, he decided to join the Airborne Forces. He applied to take a parachute course but was told there were no vacancies. Refusing to accept this, on his next leave he drove to the Regimental barracks in Aldershot and asked if they could fit him in, which, of course they did.

By 1952, he had transferred to the 9th Independent Airborne Squadron, Royal Engineers, with whom he was deployed to the Suez Canal Zone between about 1952 and 1954. In 1956 he was in Cyprus as Officer Commanding 2 Troop, attached to 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, for the EOKA Emergency, before heading by sea for Egypt during the Suez Crisis.

He was promoted to Major in 1958 and became, we believe, the first non-Parachute Regiment Officer to command ‘P’ Coy (Pegasus Company), the notorious Pre-Parachute Selection course, which he ran for 2 years. In 1960 he transferred fully into the Parachute Regiment with 2 Para.

Peter died peacefully at home in his sleep, on the 3rd of December 2020.



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