Oliver, Peter Roderick (1907-1945)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: Peter Roderick Oliver (1907-1945), born 28 August 1907, son of Major Edward William (Indian Army) and Betty Oliver.
Attended Gorse Cliff Preparatory School.
Attended Sherborne School (Lyon House) September 1921- December 1925; House Prefect; Captain of Boxing. 'He has gone to Sandhurst and loves it. A great loss to us in many ways - as boxer, artist, and Prefect.'
Royal Military College, Sandhurst.
Attached to the 2nd Cameronians at Razmak, N.W. Frontier.
Commissioned into the 1/13 (Coke’s) Frontier Force Rifles; Battalion Signalling Officer. Attached to South Waziristan Scouts, Jandola (NWFP).
WW2, Lieutenant-Colonel. Commanding 9th Battalion, 13th Frontier Force Rifles (Cokes Rifles). Killed in action at Taungtha, Burma, on 22 February 1945, aged 37.
Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar, 20. G. 13. Inscription on headstone: ‘HE LOVED CHIVALRIE, TROUTHE AND HONOUR, FREDOM AND CURTEISIE’ www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2262059/oliver,-peter...
Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; Lyon House War Memorial.
Obituary, 'The Shirburnian', July 1945: 'Peter Roderick Oliver, Lieutenant-Colonel, Frontier Force Rifles (g, '21-'25), was killed in Burma. At Sherborne he developed considerable skill as a boxer and an interest in Art which was unusually well-informed. After Sandhurst he joined the Indian Army and soon began to spend his leaves in mountaineering. The persistence which was a part of him resulted in his selection for the Mount Everest Expedition in 1936. His was a fine character and one that combined virility with a discriminating taste. Writing from a very high mountain top some years ago he spoke of his love of books and what he owed to Sherborne, though it developed later. "Sherborne took me to the water, but it did not make me drink then." In another letter he wrote of his thoughts of Sherborne in the summer "when the grass is green and the ices pink," a thought prompted by the arid wastes in which he then found himself. The war found him ready and eager. From a Tactical School in India he wrote: "We do our best to stamp out complacency. No mercy is shown to the idle. There are still some people who think they will make the right decision on the field of battle and that a capacity for endurance will be showered upon them like manna without having had to train and work hard... they are soon undeceived." Great advice. But he was more than a good soldier; he was a fine man and a great-hearted friend. The General commanding his Division writes: "I was so pleased to have him with me. He was a true son of Sherborne, a fine leader, modest and a great gentleman. He was talking to me a few minutes before a sniper got him."
A highly competent mountaineer, Oliver made a number of notable ascents in the Himalayas, including the second ascent of Trisul in 1933 (23,360 ft.) with only one porter, an endeavour which involved 4000 feet of climbing on the last day. He was a member of both the 1936 and 1938 British Everest expeditions. As a talented artist, his illustrations were used in a number of books on Himalayan mountaineering.
A list of the contents of the P.R. Oliver archive held at Sherborne School can be viewed at: oldshirburnian.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/OLIVER-P...