Peter King Peter King was made a Companion of the Imperial Distinguished Service Order for his actions on Hill 355 on 4 November 1951.

The award to both King and Derek Rixon was formally notified on page 1545 of the London Gazette on 18 March 1952.

The London Gazette Notification And the full citation:
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The Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is an Imperial award instituted in 1886 for acts of gallantry for which a Victoria Cross was not appropriate. In 1993 it was revised to recognise acts of outstanding leadership for all ranks, and replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for awards for bravery.

Since 1898 253 DSO's have been awarded to the New Zealand Army - 10 in South Africa, 126 during WWI, 112 WWII, 4 for Korea, and 1 during the Malayan Emergency. 24 New Zealanders have received a Bar, 2 won it 3 times, and Freyberg merited it on 4.

The ribbon is crimson with narrow blue edges. A bar is signified by a rosette in undress. The cross is gold (silver-gilt since 1889) with curved ends, overlaid with white enamel, mounted by a bar ornamented with laurel. A second bar is worn at the ribbon top. The obverse of the cross has a green enamelled laurel wreath surrounding a gold Imperial Crown on a ground of red enamel, the reverse has the Royal Cypher. The award is not officially named.

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206382. Captain.
16th Field Regiment,
Royal New Zealand Artillery.

In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Korea. Captain King was forward Artillery Observation officer in support of "C" Company, 1 Bn The King's Own Scottish Borderers. At about 2.30 pm the Company positions came under heavy artillery and mortar fire and shortly afterwards, enemy infantry attacked along a ridge from the west and approached the Company area. Defensive fire which Captain King called down from his regiment and adjusted on the enemy forces succeeded in breaking up the attack.

At about 3.30 pm, however, the enemy launched another attack preceded by an intensive artillery and mortar barrage. Captain King again called for defensive fire but shortly afterwards his radio set was destroyed and line communications cut so that he was unable to continue giving fire orders to the guns, and the enemy having advanced through their own barrage, penetrated the company position.

With complete disregard for the intense fire on the position, Captain King moved to the danger spot and there, armed with grenades and supported by Light Machine Gun parties he had collected, he endeavoured to restore the situation. When the grenades and small arms ammunition were expended, he went back to the Company headquarters area together with his radio operator and re-armed and then returned to the west flank where he directed the defence and engaged the enemy in close combat. The action was repeated several times under intense artillery, mortar and machine gun fire during which Capt King was wounded three times. He continued in his efforts to restore the position, until at 5.30 pm he was ordered by the Company Commander to withdraw. The gallantry, coolness under fire and outstanding tenacity shown by this officer, when wounded, in a valiant attempt to restore the position on the west flank, enabled the company position to be held for approximately two hours until excessive casualties necessitated a withdrawal.

The superb example displayed by Captain King inspired all personnel in Company area to greater efforts in stemming the enemy attack.
(Hill 355, Korea, 4 November 1951)

BiographyTop

Biography published in the K Force Despatches:

Peter King (1202 bytes) Peter King enlisted in the British Army Dental Corps in 1939 and within a year had risen to the rank of Sergeant. In 1942, he and another soldier crossed the English Channel unofficially, into occupied France and "attacked" a German troop train. (Yes, this is a fact, although perhaps not quite as it was portrayed in that recent movie). For this exploit they were both court-martialed on return to England.

By August 1942 Peter was serving as a private in the Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry, when he was seconded for service with 4 Commando. At the time of the Normandy Landings he had risen to Staff Sergeant with 4 Commando which landed at La Breche in June 1944. A month later he was Commissioned in the Field.

4 Commando were later engaged in the capture of Flushing, (Vissingen), in Holland and it was in this operation that Peter King was awarded the Military Cross.

He emigrated to New Zealand in 1946 and in 1950 volunteered for service with Kayforce. In 1951 awarded DSO for his coolness under fire while serving as Forward Observation Officer in support of "C" Company, 1 Bn The King's Own Scottish Borderers.

Selected by NZ Army in 1955 to join the United Nations Observer group in Kashmir where he served for three years. On leaving the Army he became in 1960, the first Ranger appointed by the Westland National Park Board. He was on his way to a Board meeting in Hokitika in 1962 when his Landrover went out of control and plunged into Lake Wahapo. He was buried in Whataroa Cemetery, South Westland.
Acknowledgement: Citation provided by KM