Gulf POW address
On Friday 8 January the College was delighted to welcome John Peters, former RAF tornado pilot and Gulf War prisoner of war, to address Year 13 pupils.
While acknowledging that most of the audience were not even born when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Mr Peters brought the horrors of war to life with his brilliant and passionate account of his experiences as a prisoner of war.
An excerpt from John Peters’ own website provides details of his ordeal:
“On 2 August 1990, Iraq invaded the oil rich sovereign state of Kuwait. By 17 January 1991 the UN’s call for a full withdrawal by Iraqi forces had not been met and Operation Desert Storm went into full effect with XV Squadron placed firmly at the vanguard of the initial assault.
While carrying out a dangerous, low-level, daylight raid on Al Rumaylah South West airbase, John’s tornado was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM), forcing him and his Navigator, John Nichol, to eject over enemy territory. Shortly after safely parachuting to the ground, the two men were captured by Saddam Hussein’s forces. What ensued was seven weeks of physical and psychological brutality and torture. John’s severe mistreatment was thrust into the living room of every household across the globe as that now iconic image of his bruised and battered face was paraded on Iraqi state television.
However, as a phoenix rises from the ashes, John emerged from his experience a stronger, more resilient and more confident individual. And while one would not ever welcome such an ordeal, he realises that it was probably the making of him.”
John Peters’ address was part of a series of lectures enjoyed by Year 13 pupils and Eastbournian Society guests throughout the academic year. This is his third visit to the College and so many pupils have had the opportunity of hearing his remarkable story.