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Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Le Cheminant has died

Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Le Cheminant has died

Monday 09 April 2018

Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Le Cheminant has died

One of Guernsey's former Lieutenant Governors has died.

Air Chief Marshall Sir Peter Le Cheminant GBE, KCB, DFC & Bar died at his home in the island yesterday, Sunday 8 April, 2018.

Lady Le Cheminant asked Government House to announce the news this morning, with the statement saying Sir Peter had "died peacefully" and that Buckingham Palace has been informed. 

Continuing, the statement confirmed Sir Peter, who was 97, had served as Lieutenant-Governor of Guernsey between 1980 and 1985.

He had the distinction of being the first native Guernseyman to hold the position in peacetime for more than 600 years. Sir Peter was also the senior holder of the GBE. 

Sir Peter Le Cheminant

Pictured: Wing Commander Le Cheminant briefs aircrews for a bombing raid on La Fauconnerie South, Tunisia (scene reconstructed after the event). Image from Wikipedia 

Prior to his role in public life in Guernsey, Sir Peter had served as a senior commander of the Royal Air Force, including serving as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff between 1974 and 1976 and also as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces Central Europe from 1976 until his retirement from active service in 1979.

He was born in 1920 and was educated at Elizabeth College and the RAF College, Cramwell before he was commissioned into the Royal Air Force as a pilot officer in December 1939. He was promoted numerous times including to flying officer (war substantive) in December 1940, before being promoted again to flight lieutenant (war substantive) in December 1941. He was then promoted again to the substantive rank of flight lieutenant in June 1943.

He was made an acting squadron leader by 1943, before being promoted to squadron leader (war-substantive) on 4 August 1943. That same year, Sir Peter was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. 

Further promotions followed with Sir Peter being given the permanent rank of squadron later in 1947 before he served in the Korean War in 1951, the same year he was promoted to wing commander and then again to group captain in 1958.

In 1966 Sir Peter was appointed Senior Air Staff Officer, Far East Air Force with the acting rank of air vice marshal, with that rank made permanent in 1967. His role as Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Policy) was confirmed in 1971 with a promotion to Air Marshal in 1972 and then to Air Chief Marshal in 1976.

Sir Peter's final role in the armed forces was as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces Central Europe, which he relinquished in 1979 when he retired from the RAF.

He was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen in the Birthday Honours List in 1968 when he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CBE) before he was knighted in the 1972 Birthday Honours List with a following honour as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1978.

Paying tribute to Sir Peter, the Bailiff of Guernsey said it was with "great sadness that I learnt today of the death yesterday of former Lieutenant-Governor Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter de Lacey Le Cheminant, GBE, KCB, DFC & Bar, KStJ" with Sir Richard Collas adding that the former Governor had enjoyed a "distinguished career in the RAF."

Sir Richard went on to say that his time in the RAF ensured Sir Peter was a popular Lieutenant Governor: "The abilities which had taken him to the very top of the RAF and the rank of Air Chief Marshal served him well when, in 1980, he was appointed as the Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Guernsey and its Dependencies. Sir Peter is thought to have been the only native Guernseyman to have served as the Sovereign’s personal representative in the Bailiwick, other than as Bailiff. He was a distinguished and rightly popular Lieutenant-Governor for his five-year term."

A full tribute will be paid to Sir Peter at the next States’ Meeting and at a sitting of the Full Court. Funeral details will be published in due course. 


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Posted by Steven Shea on
A life well-lived. Sir Peter was a friend of my father, U.S. Army Brigadier General William Shea, serving together at AFCENT (1976-77). He was a frequent guest in the Netherlands, and later visited us in Virginia. Saddened to hear of his passing; the line of his generation is getting increasingly thin. I know from his remarks to my parents over the years that he lived his last days in the place most dear to him.

Steven Shea
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)
Manassas, Virginia
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