brother, Joe Peake, although under age, joined
Royal Engineers, fully stretching his joinery
skills in the construction of all the things
needed to service the war.
Joe's love of
horses was another asset in the First World
War, as he helped to look after and prepare
horses before they were shipped to Cherbourg,
A photograph of Joe
in uniform (right) survives in our family archive.
After Jack and Reuben
had been killed, Lord Dunleath made a
special request that Joe was not sent to France.
As a result, he survived
the war, and followed
in his father's footsteps to become an
His skill with
wood can be seen
in his restoration work in Balligan
Church, where the pews, panelling and pulpit
were all his work. Joe continued to
Dunleath estate until his retirement,
and lived to the grand old age of 91.
The Peake family was
related by marriage to William Gregory (known
who married Sarah, sister of Elizabeth Peake,
on 17 December 1902.
Peake in the uniform of the Royal Engineers
(Courtesy of Harold Gordon)
William and Sarah lived with John Peake's unmarried brother,
William Peake, at 38 Church Street, Downpatrick, where
the latter ran a grocery and confectionery shop. William
Gregory was a schoolteacher by profession, and a keen
cricketer. Willie joined the army long before the First
World War, and served in the Royal Artillery.
from William Gregory to his wife, showing
his regiment training on Salisbury Plain,
1904 (Courtesy of Nina Gregory)
sent to his wife at 38 Church Street on 30 September
1904, shows his regiment training in southern England,
with a mark made above Willie's head in the ranks.
A surviving photograph shows that he played in a
cricket team while away in the army.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Willie was
transferred to France to man the heavy Howitzer guns,
used to bombard the enemy. Despite suffering from shell
shock, Willie survived the war and returned home to Downpatrick,
where he got a job in the Motor Taxation Office. He became
a well-known figure in Downpatrick, especially on the
cricket field, where he played and later umpired with
in a regimental cricket team, middle row,
second from left
(Courtesy of Nina Gregory)
pictured with Downpatrick Cricket Team,
front row, 4th from left - (Courtesy
of Nina Gregory)
family's military service continued in the Second
World War, when William and Sarah's son, Ted, joined
the army.2 Ted's
wife, Florence (known as Florie) joined the ATS and worked for most
of the War in Ballykinlar Camp. My brother, Reuben,
joined the Home Guard in 1940, at times
manning an anti-aircraft gun stationed where the Parish Church of
St Ignatius stands today at Carryduff, on the Comber
Road. This was one of the few guns which
protected Belfast against air raids during 1941-2.
When I remember
the ultimate sacrifice made by my uncles, Jack and
Reuben, in the First World War, I recall how in his
my uncle Joe often recalled
his brothers and those legions of friends
gone before. The familiar words said in tribute at
Joe's funeral were particularly poignant:
grow not old as we that are left grow old - age
shall not weary them nor the years condemn, at
down of the sun and in the morning we will remember
And Joe did.
mother, Mabel, worked for Lord Dunleath as
an assistant cook in her early teens,
and during the First
World War she volunteered as an auxiliary
nurse, looking after injured Belgian soldiers
on Lord Dunleath's estate
sister, Lorna, will be remembered as the deputy
organist at Down Cathedral,
and a dedicated
This article appears by kind
courtesy of the Down
It is also featured in its 2005 year
hero: Robert Quigg VC 1885 - 1955
of the Somme
of the Somme - Memorabilia
Men in the Great War
War I: Soldiers of Down
Peake Brothers at War 1914-18
Victor Blain - Feb '07
So much given by so many for the lifes we live today,
fallen heros of battles be forever young, poppy laden
fields of bloodred flowers, these where the men of the
hour, not that we will remember them but that we must.
in the name of love and peace THANK YOU.....
Roy T Hughes - Feb '07
How can we ever forget the sacrifices made by the Peake
family and thousands of thousands of other families
during the the Graet War to end all wars.
They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old,age
shall not weary them or the years condemm,at the going
down of the sun we will remember them
David Smith-Wallace - Nov
Thank's what a great web site my great great great great
grandfather was in the same regiment 13th royal irishrifles,
his name is William Teggarty. Just looking for info
if you now anything about him, can you let me know please.
C Jones - Aug '06
I read this article with interest. My grandmother's
brothers and father were in the Royal Irish Rifles in
WW1. I too have cards and letters from the front. They
are heartbreaking to read.
John McDonald - July
They were a generation of young men who without equivocation
gave their all. They lived in conditions where man is
not supposed to exist except in death. They not only
saw hell they walked into it. When the war ended many
refused to talk about it lest they be thought to be
liers. This world will probably not see their like again
yet their courage and devotion is sorely missed.
Clive Palmer - March
You may be interested to know that my first child was
named after your father. He is Luke Reuben Palmer. I
am Joe's grandson Clive. As a child he would tell me
often of his two brothers who died in the war. On every
occasion it brought tears to his eyes when he thought
of them. Right up to his death on March 4th 1990 he
grieved for them, they were never forgotten. I promised
him that if I ever had a son he would be named after
one of his beloved brothers, it's just a shame he never
lived to see him.
Sylvia Matthew - Mar
My Grandmother was Mabel Peake making the Peake brothers
my Great-Uncles. It was very interesting to read this
article, especially as I remember as a child, visiting
Joe Peake many times at Ballywalter. My father Reuben
(Gordon) is mentioned as being a member of the Home
Guard but I never knew he was named after my Grandmother's
brother. I am delighted at being able to pass this information
on to my own two children. Thank-you.
Karen Duncan Smith -
The Peake brothers are my great uncles. My grandmother
was Dora Peake. It was wonderful to read this article
and share it with the rest of our family.
Karen Duncan Smith
Gerard Peake - July '05
Hi my name is Gerard Peake and i was very interseted
in this web page as it gave a great insight to my family
Clive Palmer - July '05
I stumbled upon this site by accident and found it very
informative. I am Joe Peake's grandson and know little
of the family history. Like Willie I am also ex-Royal
Artillery and possible trained in the same camps as
he did so long ago. Many Thanks, Clive.
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