Les Peate’s military career began when, as an army cadet, he was poised to prevent a German invasion of his homeland, armed with an 1880’s Martini-Enfield carbine (but no ammo). The success of this was evident as the Nazis were obviously deterred from invading Britain. Later Les joined the British army, perhaps his most notable exploit being to pass out on his first Buckingham Palace guard. He later served with no particular distinction as an infantryman in the Far East and later in Korea.
Following his release he became a “bobby” in England for a couple of year until, lured by the high pay he remembered from his Canadian contacts in Korea, he joined the Canadian Army in 1954, serving for 16 years in the Canadian Provost Corps, the Royal Canadian Regiment and eventually the Canadian Intelligence Corps.
After leaving the Regular Force in 1970 he worked with Employment and Immigration Canada until retiring in 1992.The last 10 years were spent in Emergency Planning. He also spent 15 years in the Reserves (CIC) finally hanging up his uniform (the tie and socks of which still fitted) in 1986. Since 1992 he has been active with the Korea Veterans Association (of which he is National Vice-President), as a Vice-Chairman of the National Council of Veterans Associations in Canada, and as a member of a number of committees and working groups on veterans’ issues. He is also a contributor on the Korean War, veterans’ issues, and other matters to the Canadian Military Magazine, Esprit de Corps. He is partnered by a patient spouse (Joyce) who also helps out at this magazine, and is a slave to a ginger cat.
He has recently become a published author with his book The War That Wasn’t: Canadians in Korea, detailing the lives of Canadian soldiers in the trenches of Korea.