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Islanders of Valor Header

Prince Edward Island is proud to have been home to two military servicemen, Captain Frederick Thornton Peters and Sergeant Charles A. MacGillivary, who received the highest honours for bravery awarded by Canada’s two principal allies of the twentieth century. Not only did they receive the highest award for valour, but both were adorned with three additional, unrelated decorations for bravery.

Captain Frederick Thornton Peters: F.T. Peters
Victoria Cross
Distinguished Service Order, 1915
Distinguished Service Cross and Bar
Distinguished Service Cross (United States Army)

Born in Charlottetown in 1889, Frederick Thornton Peters was the son of Frederick Peters, KC who later became premier of the province. He attended a private school at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, Charlottetown and then moved with his family to Victoria, British Columbia. In 1905, at age 16, Peters earned his parents’ permission to join the Royal Navy in England. Peters has the unique distinction of having both planned and carried out the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross (most recipients have only either planned or carried out the valorous acts). He also has the honour of being the first Canadian to be awarded the Distinguished Service Order for naval action. Furthermore, at the time of the action in question, Peters was a mere lieutenant, when most recipients are senior officers. Peters received gallantry awards in both World Wars: two in the First, and three in the Second. Indeed, he was the only man to receive the Distinguished Service Order in World War I and then the Victoria Cross 27 years later. The United States Distinguished Service Cross, which Peters was awarded posthumously in 1942, is the highest decoration for bravery that a nation can award a foreign service person.

Sergeant Charles A. MacGillivary: Medal Of Honor
Medal of Honour
Distinguished Service Cross (United States Army)
Bronze Star
Soldiers Medal
Purple Heart
Croix de Guerre

Charles A. MacGillivary was born in Charlottetown in 1917 to Cardigan Scot Roland MacGillivary and Minnie Quinn of Lot 65. He attended Queens Square School in Charlottetown and joined the merchant marines at age 16. By 1940, this was hazardous work, travelling between Liverpool, Halifax, and Boston on a regular basis. In January 1941, he joined the U.S. Army as a private soldier and was assigned to the European theatre of operations which was to include campaigns in North Africa and Italy, the Normandy invasion, and the Battle of the Bulge. MacGillivary was decorated for each of these campaigns.

On August 25, 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman awarded MacGillivary the Medal of Honour for his actions on New Year’s Day 1945 when, in spite of their dire situation, he successfully convinced the other men in his squad not to surrender to the surrounding SS troops. This battle saw Sergeant MacGillivary seriously wounded above and beyond the loss of his left arm. Subsequent to these injuries, MacGillivary was awarded the Purple Heart with three Clusters.

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