Date added: 23 Oct 2018
Sapper Peter G. Oldham 31st August,1939 before outbreak of W.W. II called up as a Territorial Royal Engineer, 224 Field Company, Bristol, England. His brother Douglas Stansby Oldham, also a Territorial Royal Engineer Sapper and his sister Pamela Josephine Oldham in the Territorial Army Auxiliary Corps were called up at the same time. He Joined the 'Terriers' in 1937 but was actually aged 14. The army thought he was 15 since he exagerrated his age in order to join up with his older brother Douglas Oldham.
Photo taken in their home in Hanham Green overlooking the Linden Lea by his father Joseph N. Oldham, a Royal Army Signal Corps veteran of the WWI 1919 Russian campaign in Archangel and in WW II a Sergeant in the Home Guard, Bristol. He was told by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother during the war that she 'she knew she was in safe hands'when she inspected his detachment on duty to protect her overnight where she was staying.
Peter and his brother were both apprenticed to Furniture Making at Miles Crown Cabinet Works, Redcross St., Bristol.
Date added: 23 Oct 2018
Lance Corporal Peter Oldham at RE Brompton Barracks, Chatham, Kent April 1940, presumably a studio photo since he has his number one uniform including leather gloves. He was 18 and a Bren gun and drill instructor sometimes on duty on the roof of the barracks during the Battle of Britain with a Bren gun. He said he once took some shots at a Luftwaffe bomber flying low over the barracks one night; 'I probably didn't hit him but I felt a lot better having a go'.
He describes an incident on 'a glorious sunny day the usual (Battle of Britain) fighting is taking place overhead. I am drilling a squad of men when all of a sudden I spot a Spitfire flying straight towards us about half a mile away, the engine is off, the wheels are not down, he is going to do a belly flop on the square. I yell to the squad to get off the square, as we watch it comes down just a few feet above the high railing next to the main arch, flops the plane on the square which skids for a about 80 feet, just level (to) where we are. Like the others I rush over to the plane, jump up on the wing to help the pilot out...then I realize he is slumped forward over the control, the cockpit cover is gone, his is still in his blue uniform which show little punctures in the material on his back the pilot is dead, I notice the back of his seat is without a metal protector, this must be one of the original Spitfires...the fire squad was called and the pilot removed...I can only imagine what really happened, why he was not in flying overalls and chute, etc. He most likely had the call to take flight and ran and jumped in the plane as he was, and to took off to fight with his squadron.
I know now I had the honour to be in the presence of 'one of the few' gallant young heroes of the Battle of Britain. In his last moments in this life God guided him home. We had to keep going, amid those terrible events. As his son typing his words I realize once again how much we owe that pilot, his comrades and all those like my father who answered the call of duty to protect the world from great evil, on behalf of each us to come afterwards.