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Peele, Michael John - MC
Rank : Captain
Army Number : 472597
Unit : Royal 1st Bn, 4th R Anglian
Educated at Wyggeston Grammar School, Leicester, and RMA Sandhurst, Mike Peele was commissioned into The Royal Leicestershire Regiment on 21.12.1962. At rugby he was a fearsome front-row forward. He served in 1st Bn in Watchet, Hong Kong and Borneo. For his actions as a 2Lt patrol commander on 23-24 January 1964, near Long Mau in Brunei, he was awarded the M.C. (L.G. 17.11.1964), thereby the recipient of the last M.C. awarded to an officer serving with the Regiment.
The story of the MC-earning action is covered on Pages 108 and 109 of the Regimental History 'Marching with The Tigers' (see tailpiece). In June 1964 a Rank film scriptwriter came to pick the brains of the Borneo warriors as he planned a training film about jungle fighting. The product, loosely based on Peele's Operation Arrant "camp attack” action, eventually saw the light of day as an Army Kinema Corporation training film, with the tailpiece credit of "This film is based on the actual events of 1st R Leicesters in Borneo." The same action was used to illustrate the cover of the comic 'Victor', in an edition titled "A gamble against the odds".
Peele subsequently served in 4th Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment (R Anglian) from 1964-66 in Aden, Malta, and Libya as Recce Platoon Commander. He was then seconded to the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces (SOAF) and served in The Muscat Regiment from Jan 1967 to Aug 1968. He later served again in 4th R Anglian in Bahrain as a Coy 2IC in 1969-70. In 1970 he moved to 3rd R Anglian, in which he served in Germany and Northern Ireland. He retired on 9.5.1973, aged 31 years. He subsequently served in the SOAF as a contract officer, being awarded four Omani medals during his two tours there. He died in 1983, aged 41 years.
Before joining the Army, as a Queen Scout he attended the first Asia Scout Jamboree in 1959 at Mabuhay, Philippines. This first Asia Jamboree was also the 10th World Scout Jamboree. The British party consisted of 112 members (this included 94 Queen Scouts). While at this Jamboree on 25.7.1959 Mike Peele was chosen as one of 24 from the UK and one of 200 from 29 Scouting Countries to attend the First World Conclave of Highest Awarded Scouts [http://philippines1959jamboree.co.uk/78001.html].
His medals were purchased by the Regiment at auction in April 2016, and are displayed in the Regimental Museum. The medals are the MC, the British General Service Medal (with clasps: Borneo, South Arabia, Northern Ireland), four Omani medals (Oman General Service Medal, As Samood Medal, Peace Medal, 10th Anniversary of 1976 Peace Medal), and the Malaysian Pingat Jasa.
Pages 108 and 109 of 'Marching with The Tigers':
"Early on 23 January  a Border Scout patrol returned with stories of an enemy camp of some 80-100 near Long Miau, a few miles northeast of Long Pa Sia [in Sabah (formerly North Borneo)]. In what was called Operation Arrant, 2nd Lieutenant M J (Mike) Peele was flown into Long Pa Sia from Long Semado with ten men of his own 6 Platoon of B Company. They were joined by a further eight men from 9 Platoon of C Company and two Border Scout trackers, and the patrol was ordered to find the enemy tracks, follow them up with all speed, and attack. Leaving that evening, they basha'd up near Long Miau village, the inhabitants clearly knowing something was afoot as the women and children had left. Setting out at first light 24 January, they reached the empty enemy camp at 0900 hours and found tracks leading east. At full speed in pursuit and later abandoning their packs in order to be able to move faster, they found another camp at 1100 hours that they estimated to have held about eighty, with further tracks leading from it. The patrol pressed on and at about 1300 hours heard three shots. A little further on, it sighted two bashas which appeared to be the start of an enemy camp spread along the side of a stream and which may have contained eighty men.
"Peele planned to attack, and sent a strong cut-off party under Corporal A Walton round to the rear of the camp before launching his assault. Detected by an unarmed enemy soldier but with still an element of surprise, Peele's assault group had to attack earlier than he had intended. Charging some 200 yards through the camp, it killed seven of the enemy, the remainder – probably about forty – fleeing into the jungle, having been caught completely unawares whilst preparing camp and the midday meal. Some forty men's worth of personal equipment, small arms, ammunition, and documents were captured. Peele's patrol then rendered all the weapons unserviceable and hid the ammunition. As it had unfortunately been out of communications since leaving Long Pa Sia, it set out to return to base, spending a further night in the jungle en route before reaching Long Pa Sia on the morning of 25 January. Later that day Lieutenant David Michael's C Company patrol engaged three enemy near Long Miau.
"On 26 January Peele led his patrol back to the enemy camp where with explosives it blew down trees to create an HLS, via which a helicopter lifted out the half-ton weight of captured weapons and ammunition. These were subsequently conveyed to Brunei Town where on 30 January the Sultan inspected the haul. Meanwhile an SAS patrol following up from the 24 January battle, found tracks of about twenty others, probably the balance of the sixty listed on the captured nominal roll, and made fleeting contacts.
"For this action Peele was awarded the MC, which was the last gallantry medal to be won by a man serving in The Royal Leicestershire Regiment. The London Gazette citation describes the action in a similar way as above, and concludes, ’The important success achieved by 2nd Lieutenant Peele and his patrol was largely due to his courageous and aggressive leadership.' The other members of his patrol were later awarded a Regimental lanyard as a mark of distinction for their contribution."
Confusingly, the London Gazette dated 17 November 1964 (published after the formation of The Royal Anglian Regiment in September that year) describes Peele's unit as 4th (Leicestershire) Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, which of course in January 1964 did not exist.
Date of Birth : 25.11.1942
Place of Birth : Leicester
Date of Death : 14.10.1983
Place of Death : Eastbourne, Sussex
Civil Occupation : postal worker
Period of Service : 1962-73
Conflicts : Indonesian Confrontation, Aden, Oman, Northern Ireland
Places Served : England, Hong Kong, Borneo, Aden, Malta, Libya, Oman, Bahrain, Germany, Northern Ireland
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