PETERS, JOHN GYRT
Name: John Gyrt Peters
Rank/Branch: Flight Lieutenant
Unit: 15 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Age: 28
Home City: Great Britain
Date of Loss: 16 January 1991
Country of Loss: Iraq
Loss Coordinates:
Status: Prisoner of War
Status 2002: Released 03/04/91
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Tornado GR1
Other Personnel in Incident: Adrian J. Nicol (released)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project  09 March 1991 from one
or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2002.
REMARKS: OPERATION DESERT STORM
SYNOPSIS: On January 16, 1991, Allied forces began concentrated air strikes
on Iraqi military targets in Iraq and Kuwait. Participating in the strikes
were U.S., British and Kuwaiti air forces. The United Kingdom had the second
largest military contingent of troops after the U.S. with 35-40,000 troops,
75 Tornado fighter/bombers, and sixteen warships.
Flight Lieutenant John G. Peters was the pilot, and Navigator Adrian J.
Nicol the backseater, of a Tornado GR1 fighter/bomber which flew in the
first wave of strikes. Peters and Nicol were from 15 Squadron, Royal Air
Force. Their target was an Iraqi airfield. During the strike, two British
fighter jets were shot down, including Peters' Tornado.
British Defense Secretary Tom King said in London that the crews of the two
British planes were missing. A BBC reporter reported on January 17 that the
two-man crew of one of the planes (a Tornado GR1) had bailed out over the
desert behind Iraqi lines, and that rescue efforts were ongoing.
British reporters stated that the pilot and navigator of one of the aircraft
had radioed that the engine was on fire, then ejected from the aircraft.
There were also two men in the second aircraft. It is not possible from
early reports to determine the exact locations of the losses.
Rescue attempts for Peters and Nicol failed, and the two airmen were
captured by Iraqi forces. In all, seven Allied airmen were shot down
captured in the first waves of strikes.
On January 20, 1991, Peters and Nicol appeared on Iraqi television in an
apparent propaganda effort by their Iraqi captors. First the voice
interviews, followed by the videotapes, were released by Cable News Network
(CNN). Peters and Nicol appeared to be speaking under extreme duress. Also
on January 20, the Iraqis stated that their POWs would be used as "human
shields" to protect their important military targets from strikes by Allied
forces.
British Prime Minister John Major immediately charged that Iraq's treatment
of Allied POWs was "wholly objectionable" and against the Geneva accords for
treatment of prisoners of war.
On March 3, 1991, a much-healed and smiling John G. Peters was released by
the Iraqis. His wife, Helen, appeared on national television with the
couple's two sons, age 2 and 6 months, saying she was convinced the injuries
evidenced in January were from the ejection.
According to national television, all Coalition POWs were released by March
6 except for one Kuwaiti. It is assumed that Nicol was among those released.
U.S. media did not focus on British and other Coalition POWs to the extent
that all names were immediately known.