Peter Whiteley (Royal Marines officer)

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Sir Peter Whiteley
Born (1920-12-13)13 December 1920
Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
Died 1 February 2016(2016-02-01) (aged 95)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Marines
Years of service 1941–79
Rank General
Commands held Allied Forces Northern Europe (1977–79)
Commandant General Royal Marines (1975–77)
3 Commando Brigade (1968–70)
42 Commando (1965–66)
Battles/wars Second World War
Malayan Emergency
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Mentioned in Despatches

General Sir Peter John Frederick Whiteley, GCB, OBE, DL (13 December 1920 – 1 February 2016) was a British Royal Marines officer. He served as Commandant General Royal Marines and then as Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe.

Early life[edit]

Whiteley was born on 13 December 1920 in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. He was educated at Bishop's Stortford College, then an all-boys independent school in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, and at Bembridge School, a now closed all-boys independent school on the Isle of Wight.[1]

Whiteley was awarded a Newspaper Proprietors' Association scholarship to study at the University of London. However, with the outbreak of World War II, he decided to join the military rather than continue his studies.[1]

Military career[edit]

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Whiteley volunteered for the Royal Air Force. However, they rejected him citing his poor eyesight. He then applied to the Royal Marines, who did accept him, and he began his officer training.[1] He was commissioned as a probationary second lieutenant on 1 January 1940.[2] On 20 March 1942, his commission was confirmed and he was given the rank of lieutenant with seniority from 14 June 1941.[3] During the war, he served aboard HMS Resolution, a battleship, and aboard HMS Gambia, a light cruiser. During the latter part of the war, he served with the British Pacific Fleet which was fighting against the Japanese.[1] He could claim to have fired some of the last shots of the war: on 15 August 1945, during an attack by a Japanese aircraft on his ship, he was attempting to shoot it down when the news of the ceasefire with Japan was received.[1]

He was selected to become commanding officer of 42 Commando in 1965.[4] He was then appointed Commander of 3 Commando Brigade in 1968.[4] He became Commandant General Royal Marines in 1975 and Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe in 1977.[4]

Later life[edit]

He served as Lieutenant Governor of Jersey from 1979 to 1984.[5]

He died on 2 February 2016.[6]


He became Deputy Lieutenant of Devon.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e "General Sir Peter Whiteley – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34803. p. 1244. 1 March 1940. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35508. p. 1456. 31 March 1942. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Special Units
  5. ^ States Assembly Minutes
  6. ^ "Obituary". Jersey Evening Post. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 50857. p. 3240. 11 March 1987. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Ian Gourlay
Commandant General Royal Marines
Succeeded by
Sir John Richards
Preceded by
Sir John Sharp
Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces Northern Europe
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Desmond Fitzpatrick
Lieutenant Governor of Jersey
Succeeded by
Sir William Pillar