Peter Garvie’s parents were Thomas & Elizabeth, who lived at 4 Hollycroft Avenue, Hampstead, London. He had been born at Zyrardow, Poland on 13 September 1891 and, it is presumed, the family must have been in the country for Thomas’ employment. He had attended school in Warsaw and, later, at Mill Hill School, London. His later education was at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, where he played rugby for the college and the West of Scotland. Between 1912-14, he had served as a corporal in the University of Glasgow Officer Training Corps.
After leaving university, he worked briefly as a engineer but, shortly afyter War was declaed, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery in October 1914. Few details remain of the day to day activities of Royal Garrison Artillery units. They were equipped with the largest calibre guns and were situated well behind the front line. The 13th Siege Battery used 9.2 inch calibre howitzers, mounted in massive concrete emplacements. There were probably two guns. Howitzers of this size were used to attack enemy fortifications and artillery positions.
He saw service at Gallipoli from 25 April 1915 but, on 27 June, he was evacuated to the Red Cross Hospital, Cairo suffering with enteritis. On 4 July, the family received a telegram saying he was dangerously ill, but a further telegram was sent on the 30th informing them he had been taken off the “dangerous” list. In early August, he was transferred to the Enteritis Convalescent Camp at Port Said and, on 16 September, he embarked for England on sick leave.
He returned to his Battery, now in Europe, on 15 March 1916. Before he left, he is thought to have married his fiancée, Kathleen Marriott, at St Mary’s Church, Cheadle. She was the sister of Norman Marriott, also remembered on the Cheadle War Memorial.
Around this time, he was promoted to Acting Lieutenant. He was able to see Kathleen in the autumn when he returned to England, on leave, between 29 November and 9 December. During February 1917, he was attached to 5th Army Artillery School and, shortly after his return to the Battery, he was further promoted, to Acting Captain, with effect from 25 March 1917. This promotion probably meant he was now second-in-command of the Battery.
25 June 1917 was a relatively quiet day on the Western Front. The opening of the Third Battle of Ypres was still a month away but the artillery on both sides would have still been exchanging shells – each trying to knock out the other. Peter was almost certainly killed by the explosion of an enemy shell.
After his death, his estate was dealt with by his in-laws’ family firm of solicitors, Marriott & Co, 10 Norfolk Street, Manchester.
(Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)