Major Petch, my company commander at Dunkirk. WW2 memoir, War story, diary and book

Major Leslie Petch was mentioned many times in the book of Bill's war diary. Bill was his batman and despatch rider during the time of the British Expeditionary Force in France and at Dunkirk, when they were on the beaches together.

It is with great pleasure that his letters and diary from that period can tell his story below, kindly provided by Mrs Jill Garrett, the daughter of Major Petch.

'Major Petch, was a tower of strength to us all and I could almost feel him suffering inwardly for the safety of his lads.'

Bill described Major Petch as "a good, kindly man and I enjoyed attending to his needs. He adored his B Company and looking after him gave me much pleasure. He would say, ‘Now then, Cheall - I am doing so-and-so today. I will need you to accompany me’. It was good while it lasted. He really was a gentleman and never forgot that the lads were human beings as well as soldiers."

After the war, Major Petch continued with a successful career in horse racing and presided over a number of northern racetracks with great success as manager, director or managing director, including Catterick, Redcar and York. In later years, he was awarded the OBE. Major Petch's connection with Catterick lasted 35 years, from 1948 until he passed away in 1983.

Major leslie Petch in later years - I was his batman around the time of Dunkirk. Often mentioned in my war diary, WW2 memoirs, book and story

Major Petch's personal Dunkirk war memoirs, written up after Dunkirk - Click here

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