FLT.SGT. P. BISSETT
FIRST NAMES: Peter
RANK: Flight Sergeant
UNIT: 178 Sqn. RAF
DOB:25th July 1921
OCCUPATION: Trainee Civil Engineer
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 1940
STATUS: Killed in Action
DATE OF DEATH: 8th May 1944
WHERE BURIED: Tingabesti, Romania
MEDALS: 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, Victory Medal
Peter Bissett was born in Kirkcaldy Fife on the 25th July 1921. He was the eldest son of Thomas and Elspeth Bissett and brother to Elsie Sheila and Ian. In 1928 Peter and his family moved to Northallerton where his father set up and organised the Miles Sykes lino factory on Romanby Road. Peter attended the Primary School the Church School and finally the Grammar School. On leaving school in 1937 he began training as a civil engineer. In 1939 the lino factory in Northallerton closed and the Bissett family moved back to Kirkcaldy in Scotland.
Peter volunteered for the RAF in 1940 and after basic training he was accepted for pilot training and was sent to the Empire Flying Training School in Bulawayo Rhodesia. After gaining his wings he was posted to No 178 Liberator Squadron in the Middle East and then to Italy. This was the same sqadron that Malcolm Charlish, another Grammar School boy, who came from Bedale, served. The Liberator was an American four enginged bomber used extensively by the RAF. His squadron was part of 205 Group and Peter flew on many bombing missions from the Foggia Plain in Italy.
On the 8th May 1944, No 178 Squadron were part of a force of bombers detailed to attack the oil fields and refineries of Ploiesti in Romania. The oilfields at Ploiesti were a prime target for the United States and the RAF bombers and were vital to the German war machine, and as such were heavily defended by flak guns and fighters. As a result of those heavy flak and fighter defences Peter's aircraft was shot down and he was lost with his crew.
Peter Bissett lies buried at the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Tingabesti Romania. He is remembered in the Central Church of the Royal Air Force St.Clement Danes London, the Kirkcaldy War Memorial, the Kirkaldy Parish Church door and a cherry tree was planted to his memory in the church yard. Peter is also remembered on the Bronze Memorial Plaque on the gates of Northallerton Grammar School.
Peter was aged 22 years.