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The Tathams of County Durham
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Peter Michael  Wand-Tetley

Peter Michael Wand-Tetley

Male 1920 - 2003  (83 years)


  • Name Peter Michael Wand-Tetley  [1, 2, 3
    Birth 02 Feb 1920  Red House, Heath End, Farnham, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location   [1, 2, 4
    Baptism 29 Feb 1920  St John the Evangelist, Hale Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Education 1933 - 1937  Marlborough College Find all individuals with events at this location   [3, 5
    Education 1938 - 1939  Downing College, Cambridge Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Military Service 1939 - 1940  Honourable Artillery Company  [3
    Military Service 1940 - 1947  Wiltshire Regiment & Special Forces  [3
    Peter Michael Wand-Tetley (1920-2003)
    Peter Michael Wand-Tetley (1920-2003)
    Cairo, Second World War, mid-1942
    Decoration abt 1943  MC  [3
    Marriage 17 Dec 1946  St Michael, Chester Square, Westminster Find all individuals with events at this location   [6, 7, 8
    Joan Engelbach,   b. 31 May 1918, Brentford Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Dec 2002, Richmond-upon-Thames Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation 1947 - 1964  Nigeria Find all individuals with events at this location ; District Officer, Colonial Administrative Service  [3
    Occupation 1964 - 1970  Kenya Find all individuals with events at this location ; Adviser, Department of Technical Cooperation  [3
    • also covering Tanzania
    • Won the Sudan Prize at Bisley 14 Jul 1966; with Kenya Regiment team [The Times, 15 Jul 1966]
    Decoration abt 1964  OBE  [3
    Occupation 1970 - 1975  Seychelles Find all individuals with events at this location ; Adviser to Chief Minister  [3
    Occupation 1975 - 1978  Barbados Find all individuals with events at this location ; British Development Division (Caribbean)  [3
    Occupation 1978 - 1987  Jersey Find all individuals with events at this location ; Legal Adviser  [3
    Residence 1987 - 2003  The Cottage, The Green, Zeals Find all individuals with events at this location   [3, 5
    Death 16 Mar 2003  Wiltshire Find all individuals with events at this location   [3, 4, 5
    Notes 
    • For more about his life and achievements, see the excellent biography by Col. Michael Scott: Special Forces Commander - The Life and Wars of Peter Wand-Tetley, OBE, MC, Commando, SAS, SOE and Paratrooper, publ Pen & Sword Books, Barnsley, Nov 2011, ISBN 928-1-84884-673-9.

    • Peter Wand-Tetley, who has died aged 83, was parachuted "blind" into Greece in 1943 and was awarded the MC for his part in an SOE operation to equip and train Andarte partisans.
      On a moonlit night in April 1943, Wand-Tetley, then a captain, was part of a three-man mission commanded by Major Bill Reid which was dropped near Nasia, in the central prong of the Peloponnesian trident, an area dominated by Mount Taigetos. GHQ Middle East in Cairo had warned the group that no other agents had been successfully infiltrated into the region, and was able to provide very little information on what they might expect.
      Their descent was watched by villagers who had been celebrating Easter and who greeted them with tears and kisses, congratulating them on their good fortune in missing an Italian patrol that had left the village the previous day. Their wireless set and the container holding their stores had been badly damaged on landing. Italian troops found some of these scattered on the hillside, and the SOE men spent several days on the run.
      Having shaken off its pursuers, Wand-Tetley's party set off south towards Taigetos in search of members of the Andarte resistance group. Wearing civilian overcoats over their battledresses and cloth caps pulled down over their eyes, they moved by night and laid up during the day.
      On one occasion, while crossing a railway line, a mule slipped its load and an ammunition drum fell with a clatter on to the rails within a few yards of a guard hut. The Italian soldiers were either fast asleep, or too frightened to investigate.
      There were about 150 Andartes in the Peloponnese; but they were too ill-equipped to mount a guerrilla operation, and Wand-Tetley radioed to Cairo for arms and stores to be dropped by air. The mission then established its HQ on a hill close to the village of Platania and set about organising and training the Andartes, forming them into bands of 25 men, armed with machine guns and rifles.
      The Andartes, however, belonged to political factions with irreconcilable differences, and reconnaissance patrols to local villages often proved to be little more than opportunities for flag waving and delivering inflammatory speeches. Early in August, after Wand-Tetley's attempts to mediate between the disputatious segments of his organisation had failed, there was a pitched battle.
      The Germans, hearing reports of his problems, sent a punitive expedition of 1,000 troops to Platania, and Wand-Tetley was forced to move his headquarters north to Minthi, the highest feature in the area. In September, with Greece close to civil war, the mission signalled HQ Cairo with a request that supplies for the Andartes be suspended.
      Later in the month, German wireless detection vehicles started searching for them, and their hut was fired on by an enemy plane. As soon as dusk fell, they loaded up their mules and moved again. Re-established at Garditsa, but realising that there was no hope of succeeding in its original objective, the mission concentrated on intelligence gathering, relief work and in assisting large parties of many nationalities to evacuate by sea.
      On one occasion, a submarine which was to have been used to evacuate a party became stuck on a sandbank. After several attempts to float it off were frustrated by a persistent north-westerly gale, there was no alternative but to destroy it.
      Wand-Tetley swam out to the submarine carrying a supply of detonators; he salvaged a sextant and a jar of rum, then ignited the explosive charge. In June 1944, after 14 months behind enemy lines, he was evacuated from Greece; he was awarded an immediate MC.
      Peter Michael Wand-Tetley was born at Farnham, Surrey, on February 2 1920 and was educated at Marlborough, where he fenced for the school. He went up to Cambridge to read English, but his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War and he came down after a year.
      Wand-Tetley enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company in 1939 and was commissioned into the Wiltshire Regiment the following year. He transferred to No 3 Special Service Battalion, which had been formed from No 4 and No 7 Commando, and was posted to the Middle East in 1941 as part of "Layforce".
      Wand-Tetley took part in the raid on Bardia and in heavy fighting during the withdrawal from Crete, where No 7 Commando was deployed as rearguard troops, suffering many casualties. The unit was disbanded after the campaign and the remnants were dispersed to Middle East Commando.
      In October 1942 he was posted to 1st SAS for three months before transferring to the SOE. After being evacuated from Greece, he served as adjutant with the 7th Battalion Parachute Regiment in Singapore and Java for the last year of the war.
      In 1947 Wand-Tetley joined the Colonial Administrative Service and moved to Nigeria, where he was a district officer for the next 17 years; he was appointed OBE for his services.
      He subsequently worked as an adviser to the Department of Technical Co-operation in Kenya and Tanzania before moving to the Seychelles in 1970 to take up an appointment as secretary to James (now Sir James) Mancham, who was then the Chief Minister. Wand-Tetley enjoyed big game fishing, and held the record for blue marlin.
      In 1975 he went to Barbados, where he had a three-year spell with the British Development Division (Caribbean) before moving to Jersey to work for a legal firm. He finally retired to a village in Wiltshire in 1987.
      Peter Wand-Tetley died on March 16 [2003]. He married first, in 1946 (dissolved 1958), Joan Englebach [Engelbach]. In 1960 he married Felicia Bloxham, who survives him together with a son from his first marriage.
      [Daily Telegraph, obituary, 22 May 2003]
    Person ID I1404  Tatham | Heathcote branch | Descendant
    Last Modified 04 Oct 2012 

    Father Thomas Harrison Wand,   b. 26 Sep 1890, Esplanade Hotel, Paignton Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Feb 1956, Jersey Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years) 
    Mother CÚcile Florence Tatham,   b. 20 Sep 1894, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 09 Jan 1980, Jersey Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years) 
    Marriage 26 Aug 1918  St John & St Philip, The Hague, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location   [1, 9
    • The wedding took place at the English Church, The Hague, Holland, preceded by the Civil Ceremony at the Town Hall, at 11 a.m. the same day. The reception following the wedding was held at the British Legation, at the invitation of Sir Walter and Lady Susan Townley. [Curtis]
    • married 29 Aug per Curtis & TFSA; 26 Aug per The Times.
    Family ID F0098  Family Group Sheet

    Family 1 Joan Engelbach,   b. 31 May 1918, Brentford Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Dec 2002, Richmond-upon-Thames Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years) 
    Engagement 02 Nov 1946    [10
    • The engagement is announced between Peter Michael Wand-Tetley, M.C., eldest son of Brigadier and Mrs. T. H. Wand-Tetley, of 155, Ebury Street, S.W.1, and Joan Engelbach, daughter of the late Rex Engelbach and of Mrs. Engelbach, of Tylhuf, Ingatestone, Essex. [The Times]
    Marriage 17 Dec 1946  St Michael, Chester Square, Westminster Find all individuals with events at this location   [6, 7, 8
    • On Dec. 17, 1946, at St. Michael's, Chester Square, by the Rev. J. Earp, Peter Michael Wand-Tetley, eldest son of Brig. and Mrs. T. H. Wand-Tetley, of 155, Ebury Street, to Joan, only daughter of the late Rex Engelbach and Mrs. Engelbach, of Tylhuf, Ingatestone, Essex. [The Times]
    Divorced 1958    [7
    Children 
    +1. Living
    Last Modified 04 Oct 2012 
    Family ID F0630  Family Group Sheet

    Family 2 Living 
    Last Modified 04 Oct 2012 
    Family ID F0631  Family Group Sheet

  • Event Map Click to display
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 02 Feb 1920 - Red House, Heath End, Farnham, Surrey Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBaptism - 29 Feb 1920 - St John the Evangelist, Hale Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - 1933 - 1937 - Marlborough College Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - 1938 - 1939 - Downing College, Cambridge Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - < - 17 Dec 1946 - St Michael, Chester Square, Westminster Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 17 Dec 1946 - St Michael, Chester Square, Westminster Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - District Officer, Colonial Administrative Service - 1947 - 1964 - Nigeria Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Adviser, Department of Technical Cooperation - 1964 - 1970 - Kenya Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Adviser to Chief Minister - 1970 - 1975 - Seychelles Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - British Development Division (Caribbean) - 1975 - 1978 - Barbados Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Legal Adviser - 1978 - 1987 - Jersey Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1987 - 2003 - The Cottage, The Green, Zeals Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 16 Mar 2003 - Wiltshire Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
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  • Sources 
    1. [S04] H Curtis: Notes for a Pedigree of the Tathams of Co. Durham.

    2. [S02] BMD Index, birth reg Farnham, 1Q1920.

    3. [S11] Newspaper, Daily Telegraph, 22 May 2003.

    4. [S02] BMD Index, death reg N/Dorset, Mar 2003.

    5. [S07] Other Sources, Michael Scott.
      'Special Forces Commander', Pen & Sword, 2011

    6. [S02] BMD Index, marriage reg Westminster, 4Q1946.

    7. [S11] Newspaper, Daily Telegraph, 22 May 2003.
      obituary of husband Peter

    8. [S05] The Times, marriage notice, 01 Jan 1947.

    9. [S05] The Times, marriage notice, 09 Sep 1918.

    10. [S05] The Times, forthcoming marriages, 02 Nov 1946.