Every Name A Story Content

McKean, P.F., Sgt.,. 1939-45

Photo: David L. McCarthy

Photo: David L. McCarthy

Photo: David L. McCarthy

Photo: David L. McCarthy

Photo: David L. McCarthy

Peter Forbes McKean was born on the 9th November 1924 to Joseph, [born 17th June 1889], a dock Labourer, and Mary McKean, [born 18th October 1889], he was one of three? children. Jessie, born 29th July 1916, and one other not known. In 1939 they were all residig at 33 Fern Avenue, Tynemoith. Peter Forbes McKean died on the 17th October 2004 and is buried in Jarrow.

Shields Daily News 09/12/1944 article reports:

Shields Boy War Prisoner

"News has been received by Mr. and Mrs. McKean of 33 Fern Avenue, North Shields that their youngest son, Lance Corporal Peter Forbes McKean (20) has been taken prisoner and is now in Germany.

Lance Corporal McKean has been in the army two years and previous to that was employed by Tyne Brand Company, North Shields. One year of his service has been spent overseas. He was captured in Italy.

A native of North Shields, Lance Corporal McKean was educated at the Ralph Gardner School. He was a member of the Home Guard before joining the forces.

His brother Joseph is serving with the R.A.F. and his sister Jessie is a member of the WAAF."

Source: Scrap Book Tyne and Wear Archive and Museum Services

David Llewellyn McCarthy, his son-in-law, has sent in the following:

First posting: Rank: CPL No: 14566959; Name: McKean P.F.; G.S.C 18/3/43 - 28/4/43; D.L.I 29/4/43 - 2/2/44; K.O.Y.L.I 3/2/44 27/8/47

Second posting: Rank: SGT No: 22215666; Name: McKean P.F.; Regt/Corps: Scots Guards 4/12/55 - 3/12/55

Extract from Peterís diary.

"I was called up in March 1943. After I trained at Brancepeth Castle (DLI) I sailed from Liverpool to Oran. After a few days I went into hospital with dysentery, when I came out my unit had sailed for Italy. I was sent to a dispersal? camp a few days later. I was put into the Yorkshire Dragoons (Mobilized) Infantry 1st Armoured Division. After more training we sailed for Italy, then we embarked for Anzio. I was there until the breakout, before that we were up the lines at three week intervals. It was here that I was hit in the leg by a machine gun bullet, it went in just above my ankle. The stretcher bearer took it out and dressed it. We went from Anzio to Rome then to Florence, from there across Italy to Ancona, rested for a few days then we attacked again left of Rimini. My leg was a bit sore still! but it was nothing to what the lads were getting. My unit was attacked by Panzer tanks, I was one of only a dozen left alive and taken prisoner".

Peter, then a Lance-Corporal, service number 14566959 was captured on the 19th September 1944 with 23 other ranks from the 9th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

"We were taken by rail to a place near Munich until sent to upper Saliesia (Poland) and put to work. The Allies (Russians) advanced and we were marched until released by American forces."

Peter was interned in Stalag 344, Lamsdorf in Poland, POW number 138344.

David continues:

"Peter was an absolute gentleman and I was very honoured and privileged to have known him for over 20 years. He was a sportsman, a giant of a character, 6' 7", heavy weight boxer, big booming voice, hands like shovels, grip like a vice and a cuddle like a warm blanket!

He only really spoke of the war and his experience towards the end of his life and found it quite difficult.

Peter spoke of the march briefly to me, during a conversation about hunger. He said he marched for a long time, was starving, cold and tired. He survived by eating handfuls of grass along the way. Some people they passed were nice and others not so much. He was given a piece of bread by a woman at the side of the road, it was stale, blackened and hard, she also gave him potato peelings. He shared them with his mate and they ate very small amounts out of their pockets along the way. Eventually they were put into a barn, told not to turn around. Peter thought to himself "This is it, we are gonna get it." It was quiet for a bit then they heard vehicles coming, the next voices they heard were American. Peter spoke of entering a small farm house, stealing food and water, stealing bikes and pedalling to somewhere the Americans had told them to go. There he was put onto a bomber and flew home to the UK".

Peter married Sylvia L Hillier in 1946, and had a daughter, Valerie.

In 2002 he wasliving at Flat 13, Hagan Hall, 104, Durham Drive, Jarrow. By the time he died he was living at Flat 15, Martin Hall, 1, Monkton Terrace, Jarrow.

Shields Gazette - undated article in school scrapbook

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk