Despite a mischievous lifelong love of “kicking against the pricks”, he graduated as a pilot officer, and began training on the world’s first fighter jet, the Gloster Meteor.
Later he was a popular officer at stations throughout the Pacific during the Cold War, including Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and Kiritimati or Christmas Island — witnessing Operation Grapple, the first British atomic tests. He was finally stationed in Singapore, where a fuel-line mishap in a Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer caused his aviation service to be sadly cut short in a near-fatal crash off the coast of RAF Selatar.
While lucky to escape the sinking aircraft with his life, his next career back in the UK as an antiques dealer was perhaps less exciting — though just as celebratory.
Clocks and barometers
After graduating from West Dean as a specialist in 18th and 19th century clocks and barometers, Peter began trading at the charming 16th century Old Malthouse Antiques building in Bridge Street, Hungerford, in the mid- ’60s — a family business which would include his mother, sister Jacqueline, a former Queen’s Counsel, and wife Tania – until his retirement in 2009.
A well-known figure in both the local and antiques community, a British Antique Dealers’ Association and Conservative Association member, Peter was appreciated throughout the trade as much for his jovial nature and love of life as his professional expertise. His attendance at trade fairs in London and across the country was punctuated by almost as many nights out as days on the stand.
Peter will be dearly missed by Tania, his son Robert and step-daughter Natasha.
He died peacefully after a short illness at the Swindon Great Western Hospital on February 8. Peter’s funeral will be held at St Lawrence’s Church in Hungerford on February 28.
Robert Foyle Hunwick