Brigadier Peter Painter
9th April 2009
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of
Brigadier Peter Painter. The Brigadier was the last Commanding
Officer of 36 Heavy Air Defence Regiment and a great supporter
of the 36 Regiment Reunions.
We send all our sympathy to his family.
The following is Obituary from 'The Gunner'
Brig PRF (Peter) Painter was bom in Calcutta India in 1936 and sailed
to the UK with his parents in September 1939 in the Cunard ship,Capetown Castle,
which was sunk on its return voyage. His father joined the Royal Gloucestershire
Hussars and served in North Africa and NW Europe.
The family settled in the south of England.
Having passed the Civil Service Examination for the Armed Services,
Peter Painter enlisted as a private soldier in the East Surrey Regt, before going to
Sandhurst in 1955.He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in December 1956
and joined 39 Hy Regt R A, equipped with 7.2-inch Howitzers and the US N44 155mm
Gun.The regiment was almost immediately sent on an operational tour to Cyprus to
deal with Greek Cypriot terrorists led by 'General' Grivas and actively encouraged
by Archbishop Makarios. Cyprus was followed by the first of several
tours in West Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine.
Still with 39 Regt, he was the CPO of the battery which
fired the first Honest John (nuclear) Rocket at Hohne in 1961. His first experience
of anti-aircraft artillery came when he attended the Long Gunnery Staff Course
at the School of AAA at Manorbier and subsequently joined the staff of a
TA Air Defence Brigade in London.The latter was equipped with the
Thunderbird I Missile system and Bofors guns.
In 1966 he was posted to 94 Loc Regt RA in BAOR, where he was Adjutant for
almost three years. From 94 Regt he went to the Staff College,Camberley and thence
to Hong Kong as SO2 (Operations). Later Painter took command of a light
air defence battery which had radar controlled Bofors guns, again in BAOR.
After a year, he became second-in-command for two further years. The 1974 Defence
Review was in progress when he went to Headquarters 6 Armd Bde to monitor the trial
of the new style ('wide horizon') battle group, and subsequently wrote the report which
successfully proved that you cannot operate battle groups from divisional headquarters
without a brigade level of command in between.
He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in December 1975, and given command
of 36 Hy AD Regt RA, which included 10 (Assaye) Bty RA. During his tour he took the regiment to Northern Ireland, his third operational tour, and successfully completed the last firing of a Thunderbird II guided missile before the regiment disbanded in January 1978.
It was at this time that he unsuccessfully tried to persuade the hierarchy of the Royal Artillery
to allow 36 Regt RA to wear the Syrena badge of the Polish 2nd Division, awarded to the regiment's predecessors by Gen Anders in Italy in 1944. The application was refused on
the grounds that honors are only recognised for batteries and not regiments in the
Following command of 36 HY AD Regt RA, Painter was the principle staff officer to
two Directors Royal Artillery at Woolwich and, on promotion to colonel in 1980, he
became Chief Instructor Guided Weapons, which included anti aircraft and anti-tank
disciplines, at the Royal School of Artillery Larkhill. This was followed by a tour as
Commander Air Defence Artillery UK in 1983 and Colonel PB6 in 1986. It was while
in this appointment that he re-opened the issue of Syrena, and this time successfully
persuaded the Royal Artillery (and the Army Board) to approve the wearing of the
Syrena badge by l0(Assaye)Bty RA, by then the last remaining battery of 36 Regt.
The rest is history as they say!
His last appointment in the Army was Commander Royal Artillery Range
Hebrides, where the air-defence weapons of all three services were fired. He served
as Regimental Secretary of the Royal Artillery and Staff Officer to the Master
Gunner based in Woolwich, f rom 1991 to 1999, looking after the heritage, property
and private funds of the regiment, after which he retired.
Peter John Forbes Painter died suddenly on 9 April 2009.
He married Tanis Sawyer in 1965.They had three children, Marcus, Shoo and
Charlie, and five grandchildren Freddie, Oscar, Imogen , Polly and Alex,
all of whom survive him.
A service of thanksgiving for the life of Brig Peter Painter will take place at the
Larkhill Garrison Church, starting at 2.30pm on
Friday 29 May 2009. All are welcome to attend.