Memories of Fazeley, written by Joseph T. Hunter in August 2008 when he was 88 years old.

The Death of the 5th Baronet Peel

Around Easter 1934, the villagers of Fazeley were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Bobby Peel from peritonitis. He was their favourite son and was mourned by everyone.

From 1925 when Drayton manor was closed down, he came to live at the Swiss lodge, Fazeley and he was a popular local figure.

Almost immediately after his death, the vault of Sir Edmund Peel, Baronet and MP and brother of Prime Minister Sir Robert, was opened up. It was situated just inside the gate of the churchyard at Drayton Bassett. The unsealing of the vault was carried out by two of four bricklaying brothers named Price.

Then came the day of the funeral. I had left school that holiday and I made my way there hoping to watch the service, but when I arrived on the green there were literally hundreds of people gathered around the church. Some boys had climbed up into the yew trees to get a better view.

Some of my pals worshipped at St Pauls Church, Fazeley and their choir attended at the service, changing at the church schoolroom. I worshipped at the Methodist Church, so I didn't have the honour of attending the service.

When sir Robert came to live at the Swiss Lodge I saw him quite often except when he was touring with his band 'The Bing Boys'. The cricket and social club where his band often played sent a wreath to his funeral in the shape of cricket stumps, a bat and a ball.

His son, the young Sir Robert at just 13 , one year younger than I , cut a sombre figure and was to live just another 8 years, an ordinary seaman, he served on the H.M.S Tenedos. Anchored in Columbo harbour, the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft and sunk with the loss of 13 lives. The remains of these sailors which included Sir Robert Peel are buried in the Kenatte General Cemetery in Columbo.

He was the 6th and last Sir Robert Peel and his name is inscribed on Fazeley War Memorial and also in Drayton Bassett church.