Accrington soldier’s hard-earned honours could fetch £1,200 at auction

Blackburn Citizen: Percy Peat’s three medals up for auction next week and, below, on duty in the First World War Percy Peat’s three medals up for auction next week and, below, on duty in the First World War

A DISTINGUISHED Service Order awarded to an Accrington war hero after he brilliantly masterminded the sinking of a German submarine in the First World War is set to fetch £800 to £1,200 at an auction next Wednesday.

In April 1918, Accrington-born Lt-Commander Percy Sutcliffe Peat, 28, was in command of a herring drifter named the Coreopsis which was part of a small fleet carrying out “ an intensive counter movement to the German submarine menace".

He engaged a powerful undersea craft, sank it and took a crew of 36 prisoner.

According to Bonhams auctioneers: “The drifter had a crew of 12, was armed with only a light gun but Lt Cdr Peat took his ship into action with such skill that the gunner fought the submarine with great effect. The sub, 10 times the size of the Coreopsis and possessing twice her speed, could neither turn nor run for safety and, having been hit early, could not submerge. The deadly marksmanship of the gunner backed up the good work of the bridge, totally defeating the enemy and eventually the submarine hoisted the white flag. It was for this feat that Lt Cdr Peat received the DSO, his skipper the Distinguished Service Cross and every other rating in the ship was decorated.”

In an Admiralty report, Lt Peat was described as “a brilliant officer and a gallant seaman”. He was born in Accrington on November 29, 1889, and he and his family lived at 374 Blackburn Road.

He was the son of chemist and druggist Joseph and his wife Annie Jane who also had two daughters Constance and Elsie and a son Joseph.

He became an instructor at the Marine School in South Shields and a deputy harbourmaster.

He was only 46 when he died at the Victoria Jubilee Infirmary, Tynemouth, on May 3, 1936.

His DSO, his British War Medal and a Victory Medal will be auctioned at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London.

The medals, along with a Mercantile Marine War medal and a 1914 Star also awarded to Percy, were previously sold for £720 in London in 2006.

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