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15 October 2014
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Local Hero Lofty Peacock

by charleebee

Contributed by 
People in story: 
RSM Clarence "Lofty" Peacock DCM MM
Location of story: 
UK, Palestine, Norway, Germany, Malaya, Cyprus, Hong Kong
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
20 May 2005

Regimental Sergeant Major Peacock began his career in the Coldstream Guards, taking his discharge after 6 years service. When new conditions of service were introduced in 1936, he rejoined the Colours with the 1st Bn The Green Howards at Portland, with whom he remained until the end of 1950. He served in Palestine, France, Norway, India, Persia, Iraq, Sicily, Italy, Germany, Khartoum, Egypt and Malaya. He became RSM in Germany just after the war.

Lance Corporal Clarence Peacock, 1st Battalion The Green Howards showed conspicuous gallantry in action in Palestine near Nablus, on 14th December 1938, when he was commanding a section which was returning in trucks just before dark. The small column was brought to a sudden halt by heavy rifle fire at close range. L/Cpl Peacock immediately opened fire with his Bren Gun and caused the enemy fire to be neutralised considerably. His gun was then hit by a bullet and he was wounded in the head. L/Cpl Peacock, however, continued to fire with great coolness and accuracy and with complete disregard for his own safety. In 1938 he was awarded the Military Medal for this coolness and bravery in an action by his Section on the Nablus-Tul Karm road. The actual presentation was made by HRH The Princess Royal when presenting new Colours at Catterick to mark the 250th anniversary of the Green Howards.

During fighting in Norway in 1940 his services gained him the Norwegian War Cross. An account of this is featured on the front and back covers of “The Victor” and it specifically records Sergeant Peacock’s “fighting retreat”. In this connection it is of interest that his last duty with the Regiment was to take part with the representative party at the funeral of HM King Haaken.

At the battle of Buchen on 1 May 1945, Company Sergeant Major Peacock’s ‘B’ Company suffered heavy casualties — including the Company Commander and the 2 I/C. Left in charge of the Company, CSM Peacock personally led the attack. He then went back to the Company HQ and arranged the evacuation of the casualties, carrying one of them on his back to safety. Throughout this time, enemy snipers and machine guns were bringing accurate fire on the whole Battalion. By his quick appreciation of the situation, CSM Peacock was instrumental in ensuring the success of the attack on Buchen. CSM Peacock was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal — a fitting climax on the last day of fighting, in Germany, for the 1st Battalion The Green Howards

On his return from Malaya, he became RSM of the Depot at Richmond. During this period, which lasted some three years, he established a position of great respect amongst the people of the town.

In 1954 he went, at his own request, to Cyprus as RSM of the 2nd Bn, and on the amalgamation of the two battalions he became, once more, RSM of 1st Bn and went with them to Hong Kong.

As a result of illness RSM Peacock returned to England in December 1956, and after a long period of treatment became RSM of HQ Northern Command at York on the Long Service List. In this difficult appointment his great experience and outstanding services gained him the respect of all.

He died in Millbank Military Hospital at 9am on Tuesday 8th April 1958. He was buried in Richmond with full military honours in the presence of a very large gathering of relatives, members of the Regiment, past and present and many local residents of Richmond. The coffin was borne by eight Warrant Officers of the Green Howards.

He is still regarded as a local hero and anyone who has been to the Green Howards Museum recently will know they have got a special exhibition about him to celebrate 60 years since VE Day. He was one of the most decorated Green Howards of the war, and was one of the few soldiers to receive the Military Medal between wars. He was respected due to his extensive military experience. His medals are still at the Museum and are one of the few, apart from the VC and GC, to be named underneath. This is due to extraordinary number he received during his service.

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