Peter McDonald Poupard (1925-1944)

The Battle of Arnhem is a milestone of the Second World War. It was a notable setback in the Allied advance into the Netherlands and is the subject of the film ‘A Bridge Too Far’. Among the troops who fell there was Peter McDonald Poupard of 52 Thurlestone Road.

Peter’s father, Herbert Charles Poupard, was born at Dulwich in 1878. He has been found in censuses at Somerleyton Road, Brixton (1881), as a pupil at Thanet College, Margate (1891), at Cambrian House, Royal Circus (1901) and at 301 Norwood Road (1911).

Herbert was living at 4 Chestnut Road and working as a clerk when he married Meta Elizabeth Gardiner at St Luke’s, West Norwood in 1915. Though born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, she had grown up in London and at the time of their marriage was living at Mount Ephraim Road, Streatham. When their first child was baptised at St Luke’s in May 1916, the family were living at 45 Thurlestone Road. In 1923, Herbert and Meta were on the electoral register at that address but by 1925 had moved across the road to number 52. Peter was the youngest of their three children, his siblings being Athene Olive Meta (1916) and Douglas Charles (1920). The population register compiled in September 1939 records the Poupards as the only residents at 52 Thurlestone Road.

Issues of ‘Norwood News’ contain two references to Peter Poupard. In July 1936, when a pupil at Hitherfield Road school, he was one of the children awarded Junior Scholarships by the London County Council. In March 1939, the newspaper listed him in the cast of an amusing play ‘Trouble in Camp’ performed by members of the 10th Streatham (St Peter’s) Scouts.

Peter served with the Signals Platoon, HQ Company, 10th Parachute Battalion. The battalion jumped under German fire on 18 September 1944 – the second day of the battle – and few of its members survived. Peter is buried at Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery (17.C.19). More information about the history of 10 Para can be seen at this link:

1944 was a very bad year for the Poupard family, as Herbert had died only a few months before his son. However, Meta continued in residence at 52 Thurlestone Road until her death on 3 April 1971.

Thank you to Diana Somerton for providing the picture of Peter Poupard.