SOE Bob Periot aka Major Robert Ritchie UPDATE Feb 2, 2013 17:45:39 GMT
Post by stuart66 on Feb 2, 2013 17:45:39 GMT
Photograph of my maternal grandmother Florence Lomax and her nephew Bob Periot. Photograph taken in 1943 at Duchy Road Swinton. Bob was born in Pendleton 1918. His mother was from Swinton and his father from France. His parents moved to France when he was young and he was raised in Lorraine. When war broke out Bob was in Switzerland. He returned to France and joined the French army. After France fell and he was released from the Army. He joined the underground. One day while walking home he was warned in the street by his cleaning lady that the Germans were rounding up his group. He did a runner and escaped over the Pyrenees into Spain, but was arrested and interned. While in the internment camp he managed to get a message to my grandmother who contacted their MP Mr. Carey who contacted Anthony Eden MP who secured his release and had him smuggled into Gibraltar. Always thought that Gran looked especially happy in this photograph then last week I found out why. This picture was taken on the day he arrived home. Bob went on to join S. O. E. and after changing his name from Periot to Ritchie to help protect his family who were still in occupied France, he went back to France helping to run an escaped line for downed allied airmen. As France was falling to the Allies he was posted to Australia to join "Z" Special Unit where he trained for one man sub operations. After the dropping of the atomic bomb he was sent to join HMS ANSON which was on its way to Singapore. Along with five other officers and men it was their job to take over the POW camps to ensure no atrocities were committed. Bob along with two sailors took over the woman and children's camp at Kaitak. After the war he stayed in the British intelligence service and retired with the rank of major in 1964. He was then appointed chief interpreter for HQ BAOR a post he held until 1980. Last week I received a binder produced by the historical subcommittee of the special forces club containing all this information along with photographs and telegrams including a letter from Anthony Eden . The best part of this story is that, despite the fact that an agent's life expectancy was measured in weeks, Bob lived to the ripe old age of 95 and he passed away in 2014. Unfortunately his family did pay the ultimate price during the war. His father committed suicide rather than being forced to work for the Germans in France. His younger brother died during an operation for appendicitis when an air strike prevented the completion of the surgery. His mother died of malnutrition just before family were able to bring her back to England at the end of the occupation in France. After the war, Bob decided to keep the name "Ritchie".