FIR HILL

1929 – 2004

Brigadier & Mrs Myers

On 24 January 1972, Colonel Down sold Fir Hill to Brigadier Peter Osmond Myers and Mrs Anne Margaret Myers. Brigadier Myers had also had an exceptional career in the English army. As an officer in the Gurkha Rifles, he had been awarded the Military Cross twice while serving in the Burma campaigns of 1944 and 1945 and on two occasions soldiers serving under him had won the Victoria Cross. Later he was awarded an OBE for his service in the Borneo campaign of 1965–66.


Peter Myers was born to an English family in India on 18 December 1922 and completed officer training at Bangalore Staff College in 1941 before being commissioned as second lieutenant into the 4th battalion of the 8th Gurkhas in December 1941. He immediately took part in the heavy fighting against the Japanese in North East India. In November 1944, when a captain, he won his first MC at the battle of Ukhrul, north east of Imphal, when he crawled forward under heavy machine gun and mortar fire from the Japanese front lines to retrieve a severely wounded soldier and carry him back to the Ghurka positions.

Then in May 1945, as a Major, he won a bar to his MC (in other words, a second MC) when he commanded a small unit of Ghurkhas based at Tarengdaw who prevented a large force of Japanese from retreating across the Irrawady river to safety, despite three days and three nights of fanatical attacks. During this fighting one of his soldiers won the VC.

In 1947 the 8th Ghurkhas were amalgamated into the Indian army on India achieving independence. Brig Myers transferred to the 10th Gurkhas in 1951.

Between 1951 and 1956 he took part in the fighting against the Malaysian Communist insurgency and was mentioned in despatches in 1953.

Then between 1963 and 1966 he played a prominent role with the British forces fighting the Indonesian army in North Borneo, since he was commanding officer of the 2nd battalion of the the 10th Ghurkhas from 1964 to 1968. In 1965 he led an extremely effective offensive against the Indonesians and after some intense fighting succeeded in dislodging them from several key areas. As a result of his efforts he was awarded the OBE. One of his soldiers was awarded the VC and six others the MC during this fighting.

He was promoted to Colonel in 1969 when he was appointed Commander of the Malaya (as it was then called) area.

 

Brigadier Peter Myers.

Photo courtesy of the Gurkha Museum, Winchester.

He was promoted to Brigadier in March 1970 but apparently decided that he was unlikely to get any more senior position with the army and therefore took early retirement in September 1970 at 57.After his retirement, he was a trustee for 25 years of the Gurkha Welfare Trust based in Salisbury, which he had helped to set up in 1969.

In 1947 he married Anne Orpen and they had two daughters, Caroline and Susie. His wife had delicate health and died in 1991.

 

Brigadier Myers died on 5 March 2002, aged 79. The Times obituary mentioned that they had lived in Gloucestershire, Scotland and Florida during his retirement, but did not mention Hampshire.

 

Brigadier and Mrs Myers obtained planning permission in September 1972 to modernise the staff accommodation above the stables and coach houses, which works were carried out by September 1973. This involved removing the doors of the left hand coach house and building a front door and staircase up to the upper floor in their place but this adjustment has now been reversed.

Research, words and web design by Matthew & Georgy.

 

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