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Private Peaceful

Updated on March 15, 2011

Young Charlie Peaceful has only a little time left in this world. His mind fills with memories from his childhood and and all the way up to where he finds himself now.

He is tied to a post his feet in mud. He is blindfolded and he can hear the Padre praying beside him. Every breath he takes is precious and he waits ...


The story starts with Thomas's first day of school. Thomas's older brother Charlie was bringing him, Charlie could see the fear in Thomas's eyes and tried to comfort him telling him it was alright.

Big Joe, Thomas's older brother, older than Charlie didn't go to school he had never been to school in his life! Big Joe had Down Syndrome but that never kept Big Joe from singing his favourite song “Oranges and Lemons”!

Tommo starts to remember the death of his Father, Thomas always blamed his Father's death on himself, his Father often brought him to work (wood chopper). He was chopping away when all of a sudden a giant tree was falling down in Tommo's direction, Tommo couldn't move it was all happening to quickly! His Father tossed Tommo into a bush but sadly he got squished instead of Tommo!


Tommo and Charlie rarely got into trouble but when they were little Charlie bet Tommo an owls skull that he could get Big Joe to eat rabbit droppings! Charlie put them in a paper bag and told Big Joe they were sweets, he even offered Charlie and Thomas one! Mother found out when Big Joe offered her one! She was so angry they thought she would burst, she made Thomas and Charlie eat one just to show how horrible it was, she told never ever again to treat Big Joe like that!

Big Joe was the one that caused Thomas first fight! At playtime Big Joe would often come to see his brothers because he was always lonely at home, he had something to show Thomas. It was a slow worm!

Big Joe wandered off singing “Oranges and Lemon”. Then Jimmy Parsons tapped Thomas on the shoulder “Who's got a loony for a brother?,” he taunted.

Thomas could not believe what Jimmy had just said! “What did you just say?,” Thomas said.

“ I said your brother's a loony, off his head, off his rocker, nuts barmy”!

Thomas throws a fist but not actually hitting Jimmy who screamed and shouted. Then Thomas found himself on the floor being kicked constantly!

Suddenly it just stopped, it was Charlie who coming to help, they were rolling around swearing, the whole works!

Mr Munnings finally came out and stopped the fight. Both of the boys got the cane in the end, six strokes each. Jimmy Parsons screamed in agony for every stroke but Charlie on the other hand had pride and didn't show a glimmer of hurt, Thomas felt so proud.


Molly was a friend of Thomas's and became a friend of Charlie and Big Joe. Molly was always at Thomas's house.

The Colonel heard about the sad death of Thomas's Father and one night he came round to the Peacefuls house. He said that the Peacefuls house didn't belong to them any more because the cottage they lived in was owned by the people that Mr Peaceful worked for. But the Colonel was kind enough to give her a job up at the Colonel's house looking after his wife (His wife is very ill).

Things changed for Thomas after that, his Mother was always working and when she was at home she was always tired! Thomas, Charlie and Big Joe had to be looked after Grandma Wolf( they nick named her that!). They didn't like her at all!

The Colonel's wife soon passed away and asked her husband to make sure of one thing, that the Peacefuls were looked after properly. So they got to keep their house!


Charlie and Molly were having a secret love affair, Molly's Mother wouldn't let Molly anywhere near Charlie! They got Thomas to pass notes back and forth saying "I love you".

Molly soon got pregnant, her Mother and Father had chucked her out of the house. She was living with the Peacefuls now!


Soon later there were rumours of a War, Charlie and Thomas had to go!

Charlie and Thomas stuck together through the War.

Charlie and Thomas were on the battlefield together, gunfire, explosions. Thomas was hit by a bullet, Charlie stays with him disobeying the Sergeants orders. Tommo couldn't even stand up.

They stay together through the night and were rescued in the morning.

Charlie had the death penalty because of disobeying the Sergeant's orders.

People said when Charlie was about to be killed he was smiling and singing to himself “Oranges and Lemon”.

You can buy the book Private Peaceful from Amazon, here is a link to the book:

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo


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