Peter McAlister

 

Peter McAlister was stationed in India with the 1st Royal Ulster Rifles when war broke out. Returning to the UK, he survived the conversion process when the Battalion became glider-borne. On the 6th June 1944, his glider landed safely in Normandy and all equipment was unloaded, thereafter he was detailed to make his way to the beaches to help unload Jeeps and trailers belonging to the Division. To save space on the ships, the trailers had been loaded directly on top of the Jeeps and needed to be removed before they could be driven out, but McAlister decided that it would be much faster to leave the trailers in situ until they were on the beach, and for the driver to hang out the side of the vehicle as it came ashore. A road, cleared of mines, had been marked along the beach for them to follow, however on one trip McAlister's Jeep hit a mine and the man on the other side was killed. Unconscious, he woke in a tent containing dead soldiers, and having suffered no injuries, he continued to help unload the Jeeps. Peter McAlister died in 1998, aged 81. Copyright: Eamon Doran.