Pete Doherty: Growing up because my father ‘killed Catholics’

Rocker Pete Doherty has said that he was brought up as a child growing up in Belfast because his father was an army soldier who “kills Catholics”.

The Libertines and Babyshambles singer moved to Northern Ireland when he was three years old when his father – also known as Peter – was stationed here during the Troubles.

Pete (43) revealed: “He was a sergeant major when we were in Belfast, but we never talked about his army life.

“Being in Belfast with him when he was stationed there in the early 80s is the first strong memory I have of living anywhere.

“During my childhood Belfast was one of the few times we didn’t live in barracks.

“I think that in a Protestant community in Belfast, living in military-provided housing was equivalent to living in a barracks.

“The kids at the elementary school I went to would say, ‘Hey, we love your daddy, he kills Catholics’.

“We used to look under the car for car bombs every morning.”

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Hellraiser Pete talks about his time in Northern Ireland in his new memoir, A Likely Lad, and describes how his father once followed him with a rhyme with racist connotations.

He said: “I was in Lambeg County Primary School, and I vividly remember coming home one day and singing a song I picked up on but didn’t really understand.

“It was a corruption of the kids’ counting poem ‘Annie, Minnie, Minnie, Mo, Catch a **** r by the toe’, and my dad got really angry with me. I was upset and scared.

“My granny doll was coming, and she said, ‘Oh leave her alone, she’s just a kid’. And my dad went, ‘No, he’s gotta figure that out’, and he sat me down and said, ‘Okay ‘How many people are there at Wembley Stadium?’

“And I knew it was 100,000 at the time, and he said, ‘Okay, now times sixty,’ which is a pretty complicated amount for a six-year-old, but I said, ‘Six million.’

“They said, ‘Well, how many people died in Nazi Germany because of songs like this.’

“I used to repeat it to people. I was on vacation years later, and some kid at a swimming pool said something to a Chinese kid and I said, ‘Oi, how many people are there at Wembley Stadium?'”

Pete also revealed that his sister Amijo had life-saving surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

He said: “Amijo was born with a hole in his heart, and while we were in Belfast, he had an operation to fix it, and it was a success.

“He was told before going to the hospital, which was on Falls Road, if someone asks you what your dad does, you tell him he works for the post office.

“Just a few months after that, in 1986, my mother went to the hospital again in Belfast and came back with my younger sister, Emily.”


Pete Doherty on stage with his father Pete Snr in 2017

The rock star said that his father suffered mood swings during his time as a soldier serving here.

He explained: “At times he was in a dark mood and didn’t talk to anyone in the house. It was really dark, really weird.

“He was catching it all. I don’t know what it was about. When I was younger, I used to wonder what was going on in the military, but I’m not sure.

“I adored my father, completely idolized him. He was born in London, grew up in a strong Irish Catholic community.

“His father, Ted Doherty, immigrated from Ireland to England in 1946, just after World War II.

“Ted would sing the rebel song in the pub, so it was quite controversial when Dad joined the British Army.

“He was an air soldier, a paratrooper, but he was not in Paras, the Parachute Regiment.

“He was in the Royal Corps of Signals attached to Paras, 216 Parachute Signal Squadron.”

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