Halbert Peter Gray Tyson Glendinning (1921 - 2011)
Halbert and Gladys’s eldest son (Halbert) Peter Gray Tyson Glendinning was born at Nowshera, NWFP, India, on 24th October 1921, and was educated at Ashdown House Prep. School, Forest Pew in Sussex and at Cheltenham College. At school he didn’t very much enjoy compulsory games but did take up boxing voluntarily, representing the school and being awarded his colours. From a very young age, he also enjoyed fly-fishing and shooting though the guns were sold when his mother, Gladys, died.
He was only seventeen at the outbreak of war. He enlisted in January 1940 but was not called up until that November, the night of the bombing of Coventry. He was in the Royal Artillery and was sent to a training camp at Oswestry thence to Shrivenham, where he trained to be an officer. Aged nineteen he was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and sent to Woolwich where he was very aware that the seasoned NCOs were waiting to see him ‘fall on his face’. However, after he had taken a parade, the Company Sergeant-Major congratulated him on how well he had done. (Peter added that he thought the CSM’s actual words were, “Thank you for not making a complete balls up ... SIR!”)
Peter was sent to Benfleet, Essex, to join his regiment only to find it had moved so he and another officer then had to catch a train to Scotland to join it near Paisley. He spent two months manning Ac-Ac guns on the hills above Helensburgh without seeing an enemy aircraft so he volunteered for overseas. He was sent via Woolwich to a transit camp just outside Cairo, from where he was transported to Alexandria to join his regiment .... only to find it was back at Cairo! His regiment formed the landing ground defences for the RAF, i.e. protected the landing strips. These continually moved forward just behind the advancing troops. They passed through Benghazi but the Germans forced a retreat and Peter found himself defending the landing strips behind El-Alamein. He recalled seeing the shooting down of the civil aircraft carrying Gott, the man who would have taken over command of the British troops. Montgomery replaced Gott, a timely promotion in Peter's opinion as it coincided with the arrival of the superior Sherman tanks so that after the second battle of El-Alamein the Allies were once again able to advance. Peter ended up in Tunis where his regiment was disbanded.