Frank Peter Hammond #1
This story and photo is shared by the Trust with kind permission from Clive Hammond, nephew of Frank Peter Hammond.
‘Peter’ was born in Windsor on 25th July 1925. He hoped to join the Royal Air Force, but he did not have the required skills or educational qualifications, so he was posted to the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 3rd June 1943.
After basic training he was transferred to Colchester and as the build-up for D-Day commenced, he was sent with his regiment to Folkestone. After D-Day Peter was amongst the men from the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry who transferred to the Durham Light Infantry to fill their ranks after the regiment suffered heavy casualties.
Peter was one of the youngest in his company at 18 years old and because he was an excellent shot with the rifle, he was made Company Marksman, which entailed going forward ahead of the other troops in the line to “No Man’s Land” to secure a vantage point from which to operate. One month after he landed in Normandy, Peter wrote home to let them know how he was and to ask them to send him oxo cubes and some Penguin books.
After some 8 weeks of heavy fighting in difficult conditions, Peter’s unit was sent back behind the line for Rest and Recuperation. They spent Friday and Saturday night in a French village away from the fighting, returning to the front line under the cover of darkness on the Sunday.
Peter and his mate Dudley were sent forward to take cover in a shell crater just outside Emmieville, and, at 7.45am, they were hit by a German 88mm shell. Peter was killed instantly and Dudley was severely injured. It was sometime before their comrades could get to them and Dudley woke up in a hospital in the UK some days later.
Peter's commanding officer wrote to his parents to let them know what happened.
Peter was buried in the vicinity as his unit moved forward. He was subsequently buried in Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery which is 6 miles east of Caen.
Following Peter's death, his Regimental Sergeant Major Jim Boddy wrote to his mother and she established regular correspondence with him in an effort to find out all she could about Peter. After the war, Jim visited the family on a number of occasions when he was on leave and they got to know him well.
Jim was a professional solider who had served for nearly 30 years, and had a remarkable war record. He was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, fought right through the campaign in North Africa as a member of the “Desert Rats“, took part in the invasion of Sicily and Italy in 1943 and was then withdrawn with his Regiment to prepare for D-Day. He subsequently fought through France, Belgium and Germany and right into the heart of Berlin where he was the first person to enter the studio where “Lord Haw Haw“ had broadcast German propaganda to England. Jim Boddy never suffered any injury during his remarkable war service and retired from the army to live in North East England.
Peter's brother, Ron Hammond, and I have been to visit Peter in his resting place on a number of occasions. Using the information the family received from Sergeant Major Boddy, we also visited the battlefield, walked in my Uncle's footsteps and stood within yards of where he fell. You can read about that story here.
He will be in our thoughts for ever.
FRANK PETER HAMMOND
Army • PRIVATE
Durham Light Infantry
DIED 07 August 1944
SERVICE NO. 14429364