EOD Peake, Richard John

John Robertson

Staff member
Richard John
  • UNIT
Fleet Diving Unit, Royal Navy​
  • RANK
A/Petty Officer (Diver)
Distinguished Service Medal
Persian Gulf 1991 (Op.Granby)
London Gazette 52588, 28th June 1991, Page 5


Distinguished Service Medal : During Operation Desert Slash, Peake was a member of Fleet Diving Unit A (FDU A) embarked in RFA Sir Galahad in the Northern Arabian Gulf. With no Chief Petty Officer Diver in the Unit he was effectively the Deputy Officer in Charge, a weighty responsibility for an Acting Petty Officer.

Operating as a member of a helicopter-borne Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit, he participated in the countermining of live enemy mines by deploying from a helicopter directly into the water or via a Gemini craft. On two occasions he was called upon to attach countermine charges to buoyant mines, a task he took to with immense courage and resolute will, without thought for his personal safety. Keenly aware that jolting any one of the contact horns on the mines could cause them to explode, killing himself and injuring the rest of his team, he stuck coolly to the task at hand. Indeed on one of the two occasions he displayed outstanding personal gallantry by swimming to a mine in rough seas, thus heightening immeasurably the difficulty of placing the charge without hitting a horn. That he achieved the task completely and professionally is a testament to his stamina and resolve. In addition he undertook without question the very necessary but unpleasant job of recovering the body of a dead Iraqi by strapping the corpse in front of him for hoisting into a helicopter.

Moving ashore on 5th March 1991, FDU A commenced port recovery and EOD operations. Peake was employed in clearing explosives from buildings and oil tankers, rendering safe unstable live ordnance, beached mines, booby traps and Improvised Explosive Devices, and again recovering dead bodies. He performed throughout this operation with enormous credit, always ready for more and always willing to take on the most hazardous tasks.

The conditions under which he operated were atrocious. With no infrastructure ashore FDU A subsisted in cargo containers on a jetty with no light, sanitation or potable water, in an atmosphere heavy with acrid smoke and toxic fumes from the oilfield fires burning inland, and diving in water with zero visibility due to thick oil pollution. All the time the men were at risk from random gunfire from uncontrolled factions of the local population. Peake retained his buoyant enthusiasm and aggressive professionalism despite the awesome adversity, showing dynamic leadership skills way beyond his rate and age and bringing great credit upon himself and the Navy.


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