Peter Harold Wright VC

Name: Peter Harold Wright

Conflict: Second World War

Gazetted: September 7, 1944

Service: Army

Peter Harold Wright VC
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Mettingham, near Bungay, Suffolk/August 10, 1916

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Company Sergeant Major

Date of bravery: September 25, 1943

London Gazette citation:

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:—
No. 2657545 Warrant Officer Class II (Company Sergeant-Major) Peter Harold Wright, Coldstream Guards (Wenhaston, Suffolk).

In Italy on the 25th September, 1943, the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards, attacked the Pagliarolli feature, a steep wooded hill near Salerno. Before it reached the crest the right hand company was held up by heavy spandau and mortar fire and all the officers had become casualties.

C.S.M. Wright, seeing that his company was held up, went forward to see what could be done. Finding that there were no officers left he immediately took charge and crawled forward by himself to see what the opposition was. He returned with the information that three spandau posts were holding them up. He collected a section and put it into a position where it could give covering fire. Single-handed he then attacked each post in turn with hand grenades and bayonet and silenced each one. He then led the company on to the crest but realised that the enemy fire made this position untenable. C.S.M. Wright therefore led them a short way down the hill and up on to the objective from a different direction.

Entirely regardless of enemy fire, which was very heavy, C.S.M. Wright then re- organised what was left of the company and placed them into position to consolidate the objective.

Soon afterwards the enemy launched a counter-attack which was successfully beaten off. Later, with complete disregard of heavy enemy shell-fire on the area of company headquarters and the reverse slopes of the hill and of machine-gun fire from the commanding slopes on the left flank of the position, he brought up extra ammunition and distributed it to the company.

It is due to this Warrant Officer’s superb disregard of the enemy’s fire, his magnificent leadership and his outstanding heroism throughout the action that his battalion succeeded in capturing and maintaining its hold on this very important objective.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: DCM (originally awarded but uniquely cancelled after the King insisted this award should be elevated to the VC).

Place/date of death: Ipswich Hospital, Suffolk/April 5, 1990

Grave/memorials: All Saints Church, Ashbocking, Suffolk/Memorial in Helmingham Parish Church, Suffolk; Painting of his action in the Coldstream Guards Regimental HQ, London

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2015

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum