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Human Rights Officer

Heroes Remember

Human Rights Officer

It was while I was in Trenton that the Base Commander, Colonel Russell, decided that there was enough concern about discrimination and human rights in Trenton that he wanted somebody to take care of it. He looked at my file and saw my background and decided that I was going to be it. So he went to the military and convinced them that they should approve the appointment of a Human Rights Officer. So I became the first Human Rights Officer in the military. Surprisingly, years later my daughter's in with the diversity which was the later version of that.

Mr. Peters briefly discusses his selection as the Canadian Armed Forces’ first Human Rights Officer.

Walter Peters

Walter Peters, the youngest of six children, was born in Litchfield, Nova Scotia in 1937. A graduate of Mount Allison University, he worked for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force at age twenty-four and entering pilot training. After receiving his commission and wings, Mr. Peters enjoyed a distinguished career on many levels. He was Canada’s first black jet fighter pilot and an A1 flying instructor. He was involved in the development of the Snowbirds and later flew with them. At Trenton, Mr. Peters piloted Hercules cargo aircraft on assorted missions around the globe, and it was here that he also became the Canadian Armed Forces’ first Human Rights Officer. As advisor to the United Nations Security Council, Mr. Peters offered advice on the tactical movement of troops by air, and analysed and briefed the Council after the Russian shootdown of a Korean civilian jet in 1983. He retired holding the rank of Major.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Walter Peters
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Air Force

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