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Second World War veteran from Whitstable, recalls the horrors of battle, Kent Online

A 99-year-old war veteran has vividly recalled the moment he had to shoot dead a young German soldier, describing it as a horror which has never left him.

Peter Colthup, from Whitstable, was a member of the Glider Pilot Regiment during the Second World War, tasked with stealthily landing troops and supplies in northern France and the Netherlands.

He is believed to be one of five surviving members of the special regiment, and will be taking part in the Remembrance Sunday march-past at The Cenotaph in London today, albeit in his wheelchair.

Peter, who turns 100 next week, recently gave a video interview to the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, which supports Second World War veterans, in which he recalls signing up for the war effort aged just 17 and being sent to the Essex regiment for 'underage' recruits.

He says he volunteered for the Glider Regiment because he "didn't much fancy marching" and underwent flying training instead.

But he then ended up in the thick of it at the Battle of Arnhem in 1944, recalling: "War is just hell - that's life in battle, you don't have time to feel emotions.

"You're in your glider seeing other aircraft being shot down but you can do nothing about it - that's what so ghastly about war."

Peter still vividly recalls shooting dead a young German soldier who burst into a building they were hiding in after landing.

"I looked into his eyes as he died - it was just horrible," he remembers, anguished.

"I can still see his face now. In other times we would have had a drink together but you were living in that minute and trying to stay alive.

"I now think' how the hell can we keep on having wars when things like that happen?'"

After the war, Peter travelled to New York, where he opened a restaurant, before returning to England and moving to the Kent coast.

He celebrates his 100th birthday on Friday, and the following day will mark the milestone with a bash with family and friends at the Royal British Legion Social Club in Whitstable.

He will also be presented with the Dutch Liberation Medal and Operation Market Garden Medal by Lt Col Richard Piso, who is Military Attaché at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


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