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Retired soldier honoured for service to war veterans

Published:Thursday | November 10, 2016 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines
Peter Williams making his final poppy appeal in Parliament on Tuesday.

Eighty-three-year-old retired Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Sergeant Peter Williams was honoured during Tuesday's sitting of the House of Representatives for his services in aid of the Curphey Home in Mandeville, Manchester.

The Curphey Home was established under the direction of the Jamaican Legion to nurture the needs of war veterans, especially those who have entered their senior years.

Williams has been attending Parliament since the latter part of 2005 to sell poppies and has been donating the proceeds to assist war veterans with their basic needs.

Williams had enlisted in the Jamaican Battalion on October 6, 1952 at 19 years of age. He left the battalion after two years of service to join the British Army's Royal Corps of Signals located at Up Park Camp. He then departed to enrol in the West Indian Regiment (WIR) in 1958 up until disbandment in 1962 and the eventual formation of the JDF.

During his 16-year tenure with the JDF, he held the ranks of sergeant, postmaster, photographer and supervisor for JDF Exchange.

On Tuesday, the House was temporarily suspended at 2:28 p.m. by Speaker Pearnel Charles to announce Williams' retirement and to pay tribute to him for his noble decade of service.

Neatly clad in his 63-year-old army attire, complete with various insignias, Williams beamed with pride.

When asked by The Gleaner to describe his tenure, the soft-spoken veteran said "It was a great pleasure indeed to serve".

 

Successor

 

Williams has hand-picked his successor, Martin Sylvester Spalding, a retired regiment sergeant major who left the JDF in September 2014 after 40 years of service.

When asked about his vision for the movement, Spalding said his "vision is to do what he can and what is right while collecting the proceeds to aid the old soldiers who can't assist themselves".