PPA Peniakoff, Vladimir (Popski)

John Robertson

Staff member
Vladimir (Popski)
  • UNIT
  • RANK
D.S.O.,M.C.,Croix de Guerre(Belgium)
Italy 1944 (DSO) North Africa 1942 (MC)
parent unit General List (formerly 2 Bn Libyan Arab Force and LRDG)
born 30.3.1897 Huy,Belgium
resided 31 Cliveden Place,London SW1 1951 (Tel.Sloane 5844)
son of Dimitri and Anna (nee Braun) Peniakoff (married 2.3.1983 Odessa,Russia)
his father was born 4.7.1866 Jekaterioslav,Russia,died 1925 Lausanne,Switzerland
educated St John's College,Cambridge (F.R.G.S.)
served with French Army in WW1 (gunner)
enlisted 6.10.1910 Cairo
engineer in civilian life
sugar manufacturer in Egypt 1924
commissioned General List (2Lt) 6.10.1940
Libyan Arab Force October 1940
founded unit 23.11.1942
wounded on raid to Barce,N.Africa Sep.1942
wounded Italy 11.12.1944
PPA disbanded 14.9.1945 became Liaison Officer between Russians and British in Vienna as Lieutenant Colonel
Officier de l'ordre de la Couronne avec Palme (Bel) 1947
Croix de Guerre 1940 avec Palme 1947 (Bel)
author "Private Army" 1950
"No other like him,a man totally without fear"(PPA members)
married Josette Ceysens (2 daughters) (dissolved)
married Pamela Firth 1948
died 15.5.1951 London
buried Wixoe Churchyard,Suffolk


Distinguished Service Order : Ref Map ITALY. 1 : 50,000 89/II

The area between Route 16 and Adriatic, from the SAVIO to the UNITI canal presented a problem to Porterforce. The area was intersected by canals, in some places densely wooded, and for the rest a flooded marsh. Major Peniakoff during the first fortnight in November with three patrols has liquidated all enemy opposition in this area. Every operation was planned by him, and in the majority of cases he actually led the patrols which have resulted in 31 PW and many enemy cas, and a retreat by the enemy from the SAVIO to the UNITI.

His own personal courage and drive have been the dominant factors in a notable achievement. When the floods made operations seemingly impossible Major Peniakoff personally led a Duck assault patrol, and supervised the building of a most unorthodox bridge over the GHIAIA canal in face of enemy Spandau fire. This bridge enabled a joint 27 L and PPA raid to surprise and capture 14 enemy in the village of GHIAIA.

This officer's consummate coolness and gallantry has not only made it possible to clean up a wide area of country which should easily have been held by the enemy, but his own personality has so impressed itself upon the Partisans in the coastal sector that their activities under his guidance have proved quite exceptional.

Recommendation by A.M.HORSBRUGH-PORTER Lt-Col. Comd PORTERFORCE 23 Nov 44

Military Cross (with serving LAFC) : Major PENIAKOFF has made three journeys to the JEBEL, being transported on each occasion by the LRDG. On the first trip, between 22/4/42 and 18/5/42, he visited SLONTA, GIOVANNI BERTA and CHAULAN, and established contacts with the local inhabitants to collect information of possible objectives for sabotage. He also carried out a road watch on the MARTUBA road, and reported daily by W/T on enemy traffic.
He again went to the JEBEL on 28/5/42 and remained there until 20/8/42. During this very long stay behind the enemy lines, and in constant danger of being given away by ARABS, he destroyed 50,000 gallons of petrol at GIOVANNI BERTA on 17/8/42, visited DERNA, watched and reported on DERNA L.G. and organised the escape of 5 British P.O.W. from DERNA cage. He also organised an elaborate and successful system of road watching by LIBYAN ARABS and carried out political work among the local inhabitants.

He took part in the LRDG raid on BARCE L.G. on 13/9/42, and was wounded in the subsequent withdrawal.

During all these operations Major PENIAKOFF has shown great courage, and has successfully overcome almost insurmountable difficulties.

Recommendation by G.Prendergast Lt.Col. Comdg. L.R.D.G.

Croix de Guerre :


Military Cross : https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7369571
Distinguished Service Order : https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7353300


Last edited by a moderator:
Popski's Private Army
By Vladimir Peniakoff