Harold R. Peat

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Harold R. Peat
Born July 12, 1893
Kingston, Jamaica
Died 1960
Nationality Canadian
Occupation soldier,author

Harold Reginald Peat (July 12, 1893 – 1960) was a Canadian soldier and author.

Born in Jamaica, and emigrated to Toronto with his mother, Peat was educated privately and at boarding school in Kingston, Jamaica.

He served as a private in the 3rd Battalion of the First Canadian Contingent during WWI. He was hit by an explosive bullet and lost his right arm.[1] While recuperating in a hospital, he became pen-mate with Louisa Watson Small, a British writer. Louisa Watson Small was born in Keady, Armagh, Ireland and educated at Queens College, Belfast and the University of London.[2] In August 1916 they married.

Louisa helped Harold write Private Peat (1917), a memoir of his experiences during World War I and after. He described himself as an ardent Prohibitionist but in the book he said he did not think the rum ration controversially issued to Canadian troops was dangerous.[3] The book was on the New York Times bestseller list in 1918 and 1919. A movie, directed by Edward jose' was made of the book, with Peat starring as himself, Miriam Fouche and William Sorelle acted in the movie with Peat. The screenplay was written by Charles E. Whittaker. The producer was Famous Players-Lasky Corporation (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0009518/)

The couple lectured and toured, promoting their books, which included The Inexcusable Lie (1923), a treatise against nationalism and destructive patriotism that wastes the youth of nations.

With their three daughters, Peat and Louisa toured the United States, both lecturing on the Redpath Chautauqua Circuit. Peat was also a contributor to various magazines and traveled to Australia and New Zealand during this period.[4] One of several grandchildren, L. Peat O'Neil, is a travel writer and new media writer.

Peat ran a Speakers Bureau in New York before and after WWII. Peat's speakers included Winston Churchill, Robert E. Peary, Lady Baden-Powell, Thomas Mann, Lillian Hellman, Ilka Chase, H.G. Wells, Alice Longworth and Jesse Stuart among others.

Louisa died in 1953.

Harold's second wife, Grace Sims Peat, was a graduate of the University of Alabama and a pilot. Papers from the Peat Lecture Bureau are found at the University of Alabama, along with papers of Grace Sims Peat.[5]

Peat retired to Jamaica after WWII and ran a beach hotel for a few years. Peat renamed Dry Harbor to Discovery Bay, St. Ann's Parish, Jamaica.[6]


Publications about Harold R. Peat
  • Harold Ross, The Talk of the Town, “From Captain to Private.,” The New Yorker, October 17, 1942, p. 13 Brush, Philippa Mary, 1999. "This feminine invasion": Women and the workplace in Canadian magazines, 1900-1930. Edmonton: PhD Diss., University of Alberta


  1. ^ Edmonton Bulletin, November 13, 1915, p. 5; Peat, Private Peat (1917)
  2. ^ A. Lawrence, Who's Who among North American authors, vol. 2, 1925
  3. ^ Blairmore Enterprise, April 13, 1917, p. 4
  4. ^ http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/traveling-culture/chau1/pdf/peat/6/brochure.pd
  5. ^ http://www.lib.ua.edu/content/findingaids/indexsql.php?alpha=p.
  6. ^ St. Ann's Parish Council, http://www.mlge.gov.jm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=47

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