Final farewell to ‘true gentleman’ Peter Craig

Final farewell to ‘true gentleman’ Peter Craig

World War II and Korean War veteran Peter Craig has been farewelled in a moving service honouring his service to the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy, but also a life filled with love, laughter, conversation, order and roses.

Family, friends and members of the veteran community paid their respects during a funeral service at Albany Creek Memorial Park on May 6 to celebrate a life lived well.

Mr Craig passed away on ANZAC Day, aged 99 years. He would have celebrated his 100th birthday in November.

The service was officiated by celebrant David Taylor who had met Mr Craig at numerous Redcliffe RSL commemorations.

Redcliffe RSL President Neville Cullen conducted a poppy service before the final prayer and committal, detailing Mr Craig’s service with the Royal Australian Navy and honours he received.

Those present were then invited to place a poppy on Mr Craig’s casket which was adorned with the Royal Australian Navy white ensign and red roses.

He was a much-loved step-father, grandfather known at “Pop Pete”, great grandfather, great great grandfather and great great great grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and mate.

Mr Cullen says he first met Mr Craig more than 20 years ago, describing him as a “gentleman and gentle man”.

He shared a memory of the time he introduced Mr Craig to VC recipient and Afghanistan veteran Daniel Keighran.

“We were all sitting down talking and Peter held his attention throughout the whole of the evening. It was such a marvel to see a young VC winner sitting there with Peter and engrossed in just about every word that he said,” Mr Cullen recalled.

He also remembered Mr Craig offering to plant roses around the old memorial at the front of the Redcliffe RSL building. He not only planted them, but also tended to them just about every week even at the age of 99 years.

“We will honour and respect him by placing a plaque in the garden in memory of him,” Mr Cullen said.

Proud to serve

Mr Craig served with the Royal Navy during World War II hunting German U-boats and was in the English Channel with “thousands” of ships waiting for D-Day before heading to Tokyo Bay where he anchored while “peace was signed”. Read our story about his service here

Mr Craig returned home after the war and back to his old job and was considering re-joining the Royal Navy, when he heard the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was looking for 4000 former RN personnel to join its ranks.

He served with the RAN for six years from 1948 including during the Korean War on the HMAS Sydney. His final posting was on the HMAS Tobruk before he discharged in 1954, attaining the rank of Able Seaman.

Mr Cullen presented an Australian flag to Mr Craig’s family on behalf of the RSL and Australian Government in honour of his service to his country.

Greatest legacy

Mr Craig was born in Scotland, but his decision to move to Australia shaped not only his military legacy but also a personal one his family says he would consider his greatest.

He fell in love with a woman named Nellie while boarding at her home in Sydney, marrying her in 1966 and becoming part of a family he would lovingly call his own.

A large number of them were at his funeral and shared personal memories with Moreton Daily the following day.

They spoke with love about a man they admired and aspired to be like but also one who took a keen interest in their lives.

He was a tinkerer who enjoyed doing odd jobs in his overalls to help them, who taught some to swim but also shared lessons on making do with what you’ve got and the importance of saving money.

The early riser, typically 4am each day, enjoyed routine and order – possibly something he retained from his time in the Navy.

When asked for a memory which best depicted the person Mr Craig was, they laughed as they told of a time he mowed the lawn for half an hour before realising the mower was missing its blades.

But they all agreed he was an expert rose grower, with about 240 bushes in his Kippa-Ring garden regularly flush with stunning and fragrant blooms.

How his passion for roses started remains a mystery, but the flowers they produce will live on as will the memories his family and friends hold so dear.

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