WWII Arnhem veteran Peter Colthup had a very special 100th birthday celebration when he was presented with two medals for his part in Operation Market Garden.
On 18 November, the day after Peter's 100th birthday, friends joined him at his home in Whitstable as he was presented with the Dutch Liberation Medal and the 75th Anniversary Commemorative Medal for the part he played in Operation Market Garden 78 years ago.
WWII veteran, Peter Colthup, who served with the Glider Pilot Regiment, was delighted that Lieutenant Colonel Richard Piso, Military Attaché, from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands made the journey from London to present him with one of the medals.
Peter enlisted in 1939 at the age of 17 and because of his young age he was sent to the Essex Regiment. Later when men were needed for the Glider Pilot Regiment Peter was happy to volunteer as he thought it might be more comfortable to be sat down as a pilot rather than marching with the weight of a Bren gun.
His role in the Glider Pilot Regiment took him to North Africa and the invasion of Sicily before returning to the UK and being briefed for D-Day in June 1944. Problems with the landing zone meant that they were stood down and instead prepared for Operation Market Garden in September 1944.
Peter’s participation in Operation Market Garden, the Allied military operation fought in the Netherlands between the 17 and 27 September 1944, was acknowledged yesterday with the medal presentation.
Peter said: "I just thought today was going to be another day. I never thought it was going to be such an affair. It’s wonderful being 100. I’m happy I made it, but what now? Being 101?”
Dick Goodwin, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Dutch Military Attaché and the Airborne Commemorations Foundation to ensure that Peter’s heroic efforts during Operation Market Garden have been recognised with these medals. I had been asked by Roger Beets, Chairman of the Airborne Commemorations Foundation, Arnhem, to present Peter with the 75th Anniversary Commemorative Medal for Operation Market Garden and I was honoured to do so.”