November 8, 1942
In the Mediterranean Sea off Oran, Algeria, a Royal Navy task force prepares to carry out a hare-brained scheme called Operation RESERVIST, in which the lightly armed cutters HMS Hartland and HMS Walney are to break into Oran harbour and unload assault teams that will seize the 14 Vichy French warships in the anchorage. The expedition is led by Captain Frederick Thornton Peters, a 53-year-old Canadian with 37 years of Royal Navy service and four decorations for valour.
Op RESERVIST is part of Operation TORCH, the British-American amphibious invasion of northwest Africa. Op TORCH begins at midnight, with American landings around Casablanca, American and British landings in the Oran area, and British landings at Algiers. One of its planning assumptions is that the Vichy French will offer only token resistance, and Op RESERVIST is intended as camouflage for an eager capitulation; should the French fight back, it is supposed to be cancelled. Despite this arrangement, at 2:45 a.m., with the Vichy French forces fully engaged in an effort to repel the invasion, Capt Peters receives the order to proceed.
Everything goes wrong. As Walney and Hartland approach the boom, the harbour-defence batteries locate them with searchlights and start shooting; when Walney breaks the boom and charges into the harbour, the French warships join in at point-blank range. Capt Peters keeps Walney on course until a shell strikes her boiler and the explosion kills most of the crew, leaving only 17 survivors. With his ship burning from stem to stern and shellfire pouring in from all sides, Capt Peters abandons his mission and gets his survivors into the water, then swims for shore himself.The French police pick him up and put him in jail, where American soldiers find him on November 10.
On November 11, the Sunderland flying boat taking Capt Peters back to England crashes off Plymouth, killing all the passengers. Capt Peters' body is never found. Later, his posthumous Victoria Cross is delivered to his mother in Nelson, B.C., by mail.
http://www.dnd.ca/site/community/maplel ... 0____14-15
http://collections.ic.gc.ca/island/isla ... valour.htm
At least Ike immediately dispatched two senior officers to Nelson to present his mother with his American DSC.
Just an info type post.