Box 024, folder 22: Peter Griffin

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GRIFFIN, Peter Canadian Box 24, #22

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PHONE: GALT3672

Captain Peter Griffin -- age 29 at D-Day, married, got M.C. later 32 McKenzie St., Galt, Ont. —

Was with Clayton Fuller in Toronto Scottish unit when they volunteered into the Airbourne in England. Clayton was his superior. Has 7 kids, lives in a gigantic old mansion — stately and British looking. Has an accent cultivated, almost British (a group of people in Toronto cultivate it, I believe.) He's thin, lanky, wirey, Edwardian-looking. (His picture is on clipping.) Almost effeminate, funny[crossed out]m[end crossed out] twinkly green eyes. Says "Chaps," "My God," and "bloody," all the time. Plays a lot of tennis with Dick.

His job was to blow up the bridge, and he landed about 10 feet away from it in the canal. He couldn't believe it. Noone else was there yet, and he just waited for the rest to come. The first person he saw was his superior, Clayton Fuller, coming across the bridge. But Clayton didn't deign to recognize him. Clayton had given him his orders to blow up the bridge, and now he had a job of his own to do. Pete was so happy to see another soul, and Clayton just kept right on going across the bridge without a word.

He landed in water up to his shoulders. [inserted] Steel bridge [end inserted] [inserted] [?Robehomae?] [end inserted]

So he set about trying to find people to help him blow up the bridge. He mainly needed the engineers but only one came. Men began coming in slowly, and later on a French woman was helping to round them up. She brought in a total of about 150 (this was just before dawn) but still only one engineer. Decided they'd better get the job [inserted [?Deves?] [end inserted] over with, so they collected the tiny bit of dynamite each man carried -- it was a moldy clay type stuff that you just stuck onto the bridge. Engineer didn't know whether it would work or not, but decided to try. Collected about 200 pounds in all. [inserted] Engineer Sgt. [end inserted] Finally the engineer was all set and started to light the match. [inserted] 2lbs of explosive each [end inserted] But Pete said, "Oh no, I'll light this one -- but you come with me." So they lit it together, and it was "the Father and Mother of explosions." And it was just at first light. They felt very proud of themselves. They had sent some of the men to dony the bridge approaches and take care of any stray Germans snooping around. There weren't many.

Peter remembers James Hill, Brig., saying just before D-Day, "You're about to leave for France -- you've made your plans well, and everything is set. And when you get there, this won't work out at all." And Pete says it was just like that. Nothing worked out, and the best laid plans never do.

-There was a lad named [insert] Maj Murray [end inserted] McLeod -- the youngest [inserted] officer [end inserted] of the assault battalion. Had a premonition he was going to get it. Was a company commander. He lived with an aunt in Nova Scotia and never swore --a gentle chap. Pete sa:ys [crossed out] xxxxxxxxx [end crossed out] McLeod would say/ to him, "Peter Griffin just makes me mad." The night before the D-Day operation, he sat on his equipment writing a letter to his aunty in Nova Scotia. Pete asked him how the hell a guy could sit the night before such an operation and write a letter. McLeod said he just felt the need to talk to someone.

[inserted] McLeod was [?inacting?] anti tank gun [end inserted] John Hanson saw him get killed on D-Day. He was in the chateau near Varaville, next to the pillbox, trying to liquidate the pillbox practically single-handed. [inserted] Lt. Walker killed w. him also 2 or 3 other men. [end inserted] He was up in an upstairs window shooting and got hit in the gut. Didn t have a chance anyway, had a look in his eyes.

Last edit about 3 years ago by SarahAnn
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- 2 - Griffin Pete remembers when the tanks began to come through from the invasion, probably about the 2d or 3d -- and he thought the war was over there were so bloody many tanks.

He got the M.C. [inserted] later[end of inserted] for holding a position under heavy fire. .

Interviewed by Nancy Bashant

Last edit about 3 years ago by SarahAnn
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April 15, 1959 Mr. Peter Griffin 32 McKenzie Street Galt, Ontario Canada

Dear Mr. Griffin: We have your interview in connection with a book on D-Day which Is being prepared by Mr. Ryan for publication in the Reader's Digest in book form.

Due to the overwhelming response to this request, we have bean deluged with material and have not had a chance to write to each and everyone as yet. However, we do want to thank you for being patient with us and to tell you how deeply grateful we are for your cooperation in giving us this information.

In order for us to edit your material for use in the book, it will be necessary for us to have your signature on the attached release, which we would thank you to return in the enclosed selfaddressed envelope.

Again many thanks for your help.

Sincerely,

aw for Cornelius Ryan enc.

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I agree that Mr. Cornelius Ryan, his licensees and/or assigns, has all rights whatsoever in the interview from me regarding D-Day.

____________________________ signed

____________________________ date

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