The heroism of Staff Sergeant Peter Clarke

What makes a true hero ? is it bravery or heroism. A true hero can be defined as one that goes beyond what is expected of them and risks their own life to benefit another’s.  All acts of heroism require bravery, but all those that perform acts of bravery are not necessarily heroes..

None is more deserving of the accolade ‘hero’ than the unassuming Staff Sergeant Peter Clarke.

Peter Clarke was a pilot in the Glider Pilot Regiment. Like all army pilots, having landed his Glider at Arnhem and unloaded his precious cargo, he left the role of aviator behind; and assumed the role of a soldier.  Before he had volunteered to become a pilot, Peter was a medic in the medical corps; and it was this role that he reverted back to at Arnhem.

He quickly established a front line medical post and within hours was receiving his first casualties.  However, although a trained medic, within a day or so, he no longer had any medical supplies and was unable offer little more than some water, a field dressing and some comfort. Before long and towards the end of the battle, his supplies were pretty much exhausted; and all he could offer was some words of comfort to the injured and dying.

When it came time for the 1st Airbourne, or what was left of it, to evacuate, Staff Sergeant Peter Clarke chose selflessly to stay behind and care for the wounded, those that were unable to be moved. Knowing that at best he would be captured by the Germans and taken prisoner; and with no consideration of what was the worst that could face him, this was the act of a true hero.

See more of Peter’s recollections of his time at Arnhem and learn more about his experieces in our new film ‘Remembering Arnhem’

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