Skip to main content

George Peter

PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co C


Born 1922 in NY, Died 1995


County of enlistment: New York, NY
Other residence(s): New York, NY; Scarsdale, NY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: designers
College education after the war: Brooklyn Museum Art School 4 years
Notes: terrific and fine artist
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Comment by Howard Holt; Company C roster

NOTE: I am 95% sure I have identified the right guy. There are relatively few men named George Peter who enlisted in World War II (not St. Peter, not Peters, no middle initial) and none of the rest of them (that I could find) had a pre-war profession in the arts. (He is identified as a "terrific artist" by Howard Holt.) The man I have found was a designer before the war, enlisted in the Corps of Engineers (right designation for the 603rd), and spent three years in the Army. He brought home artwork from the war (both domestic and overseas works). He was a practicing artist after the war, and taught in the 1960s at the Bedford NY Art Center where he was hired to teach by the director, Shirley Carter, also a GA veteran. He is the only known artist of his generation named George Peter.

George Peter was born on June 16, 1922 in New York City, the elder of two children. His parents had both been born in Greece; his father worked as a chef.

He attended the School of Industrial Art (now the High School of Art and Design) in Manhattan, a school that was brand new about the time that George started taking classes there. After graduating he found work as a designer at Lee Holland & Miller in Manhattan.

He registered for the draft on June 30, 1942 and enlisted on October 7, 1942. Like other New York City artists, he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, and saw service in Europe during the war.

After returning from Europe with his unit, he was stationed briefly at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, and worked with fellow GA veteran Arthur Singer on a mural at the Officers' Club there. After his release, he went back to New York, bringing with him wartime sketches from home and abroad. He began painting seriously, and studied art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School for four years.

In 1954 he married Betty Bastis, and in 1959 he and his wife moved to Scarsdale, NY. They became the parents of two children: Melissa and Douglas. Over the years George continued to paint, winning numerous art awards and earning a place in one-man and group exhibitions in the US and in Greece. His awards included a first and a second prize in oils at the Scarsdale Art Association shows, an award for watercolor in the Westchester Art Society Exhibit, an award in oil at the Annual Exhibition of Audubon Artists at National Academy Galleries, and the Grumbacher Award from the Westchester Art Society.

His exhibitions included those at the Olympian Gallery in Athens, the American Embassy in Greece, the 1964/65 New York World's Fair, Syracuse University, Rollins College, and the Contemporary Arts Esperanto and Center Art Galleries in New York.

His art also found its way into a number of collections. These included the private collections of New York Times restaurant critic and cookbook author Craig Claiborne and entertainer Frank Sinatra, as well as the permanent collections of the Butler Institute of American Art, the Georgia Museum of Art, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, the Sheldon Swope Art Gallery, the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the University of Massachusetts.

He was a popular art teacher, lecturing at colleges and universities and at local art clubs and other organizations throughout the country, and offering classes throughout the 1960s and 1970s and into the 1980s at a variety of venues including the Westchester Art Workshop in White Plains, the Bedford Art Center in Bedford Hills (where he was hired by fellow Ghost Army Veteran B. Shirley Carter), the Westchester County Center, and the White Plains YMCA. Biographies of other local artists frequently mention that they studied with George Peter.

He died on February 2, 1995 in Scarsdale, NY; he is buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum in Hartsdale, NY.


1940 census

1942 draft card

1942 enlistment record

1959 article in the Scarsdale Inquirer (NY) indicating that he and his wife moved to Scarsdale from NYC

1965 article in Scarsdale Inquirer (NY) re his work

1967 article in the Daily Item (Port Chester NY) re a new teaching position

1976 article in Scarsdale Inquirer (NY) re his work

1981 article in the Daily Item (Port Chester NY) re his teaching and exhibiting

1983 article in New York Times re a lecture he gave

1986-1995 US Public Records Index

1995 Social Security Applications and Claims Index

1995 Social Security death index

1995 obituary in The Reporter Dispatch (White Plains, NY)

1995 Find a Grave record

Biography on; full bio only available on Fridays

Arthur Singer letters, October 1945 (NOTE: The particular letter mentioned here is not online, but here is a link to the collection)

Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!