b. 10/04/1916 Esmont, Virginia. d. 14/06/1944 Grandcamp-Maisy, Normandy, France.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 08/06/1944 Grandcamp, France.
He was born April 10, 1916 at Esmont, Virginia, and grew up in a large, impoverished, but tightly knit family in Albemarle County, Virginia. His family name is actually spelled "Peregoy" according to historian Richard H. Britton, although most references spell his name "Peregory." His birth year is also typically given erroneously as 1915, possibly because he originally lied about his age at enlistment.
Peregory's mother died in 1931, forcing him to quit school to help his father support his seven siblings. In May, Peregory joined Company K (Monticello Guard) of the 116th Infantry Regiment of the Virginia National Guard at Charlottesville, the seat of Albemarle County. Because Peregory was only fifteen at the time, he lied about his year of birth, and this misinformation became part of his permanent record along with the presumably accidental misspelling of his surname. In 1941, Peregory married Bessie Kirby. Before the entrance of the United States into World War II, Peregory's unit was inducted into federal service on February 3, 1941.
As a member of the 29th Division Peregory moved with it to Fort Meade and the unit began training for participation in the war. While patrolling a beach in North Carolina shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, Peregoy rescued a drowning comrade. In recognition of his action and disregard of danger to himself, he was awarded the Soldier's Medal, the highest non combat award that a soldier can receive for saving a life. The 29th was then sent overseas to train in Scotland and England for the next two years. The 29th was selected along with the Regular Army's 1st Infantry Division to attack one of five fortified beaches, codenamed "Omaha".
On 8 June 1944, the 3rd Battalion of the 116th Infantry was advancing on the strongly held German defenses at Grandcamp-Maisy, France, when the leading elements were suddenly halted by decimating machine gun fire from a firmly entrenched enemy force on the high ground overlooking the town. After numerous attempts to neutralize the enemy position by supporting artillery and tank fire had proved ineffective, T/Sgt. Peregory, on his own initiative, advanced up the hill under withering fire, and worked his way to the crest where he discovered an entrenchment leading to the main enemy fortifications 200 yards away. Without hesitating, he leaped into the trench and moved toward the emplacement. Encountering a squad of enemy riflemen, he fearlessly attacked them with hand grenades and bayonet, killed 8 and forced 3 to surrender. Continuing along the trench, he single-handedly forced the surrender of 32 more riflemen, captured the machine gunners, and opened the way for the leading elements of the battalion to advance and secure its objective. The extraordinary gallantry and aggressiveness displayed by T/Sgt. Peregory are exemplary of the highest tradition of the armed forces.
BURIAL LOCATION: NORMANDY AMERICAN CEMETERY, COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE.
Section G, Row 21, Grave 7
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