Monument Unveiled to memory of Peter Matthews by People of Le Muy
On August 15th 2012 as part of the official Operation Dragoon liberation commemorations a Plaque was unveiled in remembrance of 4th Batallion British Parachute Regiment Veteran Peter Matthews who sadly passed away in December 2011.
The plaque is situated on the bank of the River Nartuby just by the bridge near Fredericks Roundabout. This was where, on 15th August 1944, Peter and three other 4th Bn Paras, including Spike Nolan, hid from the Germans occupying Fredericks Roundabout which was then a crossroads. They had made their way from the drop zone to the hill overlooking Le Muy. The bridge and the crossroads at Fredericks roundabout was an important objective of the British who were to secure the bridge from being destroyed as it was the main route into le Muy and beyond from the coast.
Peter was shown the way down off the hill by a young man attached to the resistance, Jean Galli. On approaching the river a young boy, Maurice Tosello, came running out of a farm and the position of the British soldiers was under threat of being given away to the Germans. Peter gave this young boy his chocolate ration to keep him quiet and the young boy returned back into the farm. The soldiers then made their way along the riverbank to check on the bridge which they found had been made ready to be blown up. The soldiers waited, and waited, their orders had been to check the strength of the Germans at the cross-roads and report back.
Whilst hiding by the bridge Peter spotted a German patrol coming along the road towards the bride with 2 American prisoners. They made their mind up to free the Americans using the element of surprise, Peter shouted “get down” The Americans dropped to the ground and Spike Nolan shot the Germans. This then gave their position away and so they had no alternative but to charge the crossroads. This they did with the two Americans freshly armed with German weapons. A firefight ensued with several Germans killed. Support came by way way of mortar from the British on the hill. The Germans thought that the force attacking the crossroads was far greater than just 6 men and so retreated back into the town. An important objective had been secured.
This photo shows Peter’s daughter Sue beside the plaque.
Both Jean Galli, who had shown Peter the way in 1944 and the “chocolate boy” Maurice Tosello were present at the unveiling and can be seen in this photo along with other British veterans and including the current Parachute Regimental Colonel who attended the commemorations this year.