Family join tribute to teenage soldier

Remembering Peter: Veterans, family members, friends and RBL representatives attended
Remembering Peter: Veterans, family members, friends and RBL representatives attended

A tribute to a teenage Halifax soldier who was killed in Northern Ireland proved even more special as some members of his family were able to attend a ceremony which had been arranged.

Army veterans John Swaine and Jim Delahunty had spent time repairing and tidying the grave of Gunner Peter Raistrick, who was shot by a sniper while manning an observation post at Brooke Park, Londonderry, at the height of the Troubles.

New roundel: Gunner Raistricks grave

New roundel: Gunner Raistricks grave

Peter was just 18 and his grave at Illingworth Moor Methodist Church is one of a number members of the Northern Ireland Veterans Association have been seeking out to keep in good repair and ensure the fallen soldiers are not forgotten.

Royal British Legion representatives and others from Peter’s “K” Battery, 5 Regiment, Royal Artillery, were joined by some of his relatives and friends to hear the Last Post being played by a lone bugler, following a short graveside service.

The service took place 45 years to the day that Gunner Raistrick was killed - he died on June 11, 1972.

John said he and Jim had completed the repair and re-ordered Peter’s grave with materials supplied free of charge by local builders’ merchants Naylor Myers and a roundel bearing Gunner Raistrick’s name, number and regimental details including its crest had been made by the regiment and sponsored by the Roundhill Inn at Rastrick.

Beforehand John had tried and failed to trace any of Gunner Raistrick’s relatives.

“But some family members had seen the piece in last week’s Courier and we were really happy they came along on the day. They were delighted with what we have done and were very appreciative of it on a very emotional day,” he said.

John said Northern Ireland Veterans Association’s statistics showed 77 Royal Artillerymen were killed in Northern Ireland in what was called Operation Banner, 56 of them through terrorist activity.