King's Royal Rifle Corps, attached to 4th Parachute Brigade, Army Air Corps
Born 17 April 1913 in Perth, Western Australia
Killed in action 11 September 1943, aged 30
Buried at Bari War Cemetery, Italy.
Peter Lalor was the only son of Captain Joseph Peter Lalor, of the 12th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, who was killed in action at Bay 700, Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915, and of Hester, née Loughrey, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; and the great-grandson of Peter Lalor, who led the only major insurrection against British rule in Australian history, at the Eureka Stockade, Victoria, in 1854.
He was educated at Xavier College, Melbourne, and Melbourne University, and came to Merton to read for the BCL. In 1931 he had enlisted in the Melbourne University Rifles, part of the Australian Militia Forces.
Having enlisted with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps after the declaration of war in 1939, he was part of the British Expeditionary Force that was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940. Having passed parachute training, he became a member of the 4th Parachute Brigade, which was raised in December 1942 in North Africa.
“Nothing can surpass the excitement of jumping from an aeroplane,” he wrote in a letter home in 1943 to his mother. The letter records how he won his wings “…when, like Keats’ Hyperion, I plunged all noiseless into the deep night…” and how “…the most rigorous physical training…left me aching and stiff all over and thoroughly exhausted.”
Peter Lalor was killed in action at Castellanata, Italy, on 11 September 1943, during Operation Slapstick, one of three landings during the Allied invasion of Italy that month.