Major, Acting Lieutenant Colonel Walter Ernest Peacock Royal Ordnance Corp (Volunteer Reserve)

Written by Karen Day
First Published

Introduction

Walter Peacock's Royal
Ordinance Corps cap badge

Son of Walter Organ Peacock and Helen Peacock, husband of Dorothy Peacock, of Compton, Surrey, who died on 30th December 1942 Age 54.

We were contacted by two of Ernest's Grandsons, Michael Bradley and Robin Peacock. They tell me that the Peacock Grandchildren are scattered between Canada, Scotland, Norway and in the UK, Shipley and Tynemouth. Robin was kind enough to provide the photograph of his Grandfathers original Royal Ordinance Corps cap badge. Mike, who's Mother, Marjory, was the eldest daughter of Ernest and Dorothy, and lived in Burton Stather until 1957 kindly provided us with his Grandfather's obituary along with some family tales.

Many of the older generation will remember Peacocks shop on Burton upon Stather High Street, latterly Café Aroma (2014). The family home was the next house heading toward the top of the hill.

World War One

Born in Catford, Kent by 1911 Ernest was working in Lyndhurst Grocer shop as an assistant. He served during World War 1 in the Army Ordnance Corp., first as a Corporal and then Lieutenant, demobbed in 1920 and his address given at 23/4/1920 on the Medal Index Card as 90 High Street, Scunthorpe. His medal honours are written as 1914 - 15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal which commonly became known as the Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.

Scunthorpe

At the time of his arrival to take over the business in Scunthorpe we should remember the town was greatly in need of new infrastructure with the increasing population of migrant workers. A booklet issued in October 1936 by the Scunthorpe & Frodingham Urban District Council celebrated the presentation of the Incorporation of the Charter for the brand new Borough of Scunthorpe.

According to the booklet the granting of the Charter implied two things, recognition of the work already done and results achieved; and secondly, fresh opportunities for more important service, fresh heights to scale, and greater responsibilities to shoulder. The copy of Ernest's obituary provided by his Grandson Mike Bradley, perfectly shows the way he played his part towards this and the zeal in which he served the local community between the wars.

Letter from Walter Peacock
A Letter from Walter Peacock

The family legends about him add a little to the story from the obituary. As a young married man he served as a junior officer in East Africa in the 1st World War: his 1st World War records were among those lost when Whitehall was bombed in the 2nd World War. At first he worked as an apprentice grocer in Lyndhurst, my grandmother being an apprentice tailor. Before going off to war he caused outrage by walking along Lyndhurst High Street in uniform with an unwrapped item of ladies lingerie over his arm.....so he was not completely bowed down by his responsibilities.

It seems that he came back from the 1st World War with a different outlook, like a lot of the men who survived the battlefields. He was more serious, a distant figure to his family, and worked himself to death in charitable works between the wars (said his widow, my Grandma, years ago). A lot of the 1st World War survivors reacted like that, I believe. So he was past normal army service age when he volunteered to serve again in the 2nd World War. As far as I can find out, he was chasing round the UK, as some sort of trouble shooter for the RAOC. His family never knew where he was, although he had married quarters in Catterick, I believe from a letter Robin has just found. His death from a heart attack came out of the blue, and he was buried where he fell, in the Army tradition. His widow never got a pension because he wasn't on active service.

Mike Bradley
Grandson of Walter Peacock

Obituary

Sudden Death of Major W.E. Peacock

SCUNTHORPE HOSPITAL LOSES ARDENT SUPPORTER

Many people heard with surprise and deep regret last week-end of the sudden death of Major Walter Ernest Dick Peacock, a former well known Scunthorpe grocer, latterly of Burton-Stather, which took place at an Army unit's headquarters in East Anglia on Wednesday of last week. Major Peacock died suddenly from natural causes at the age of 54. Only three weeks previously he had been home, on leave, and met many friends in Scunthorpe.

Attached to the officer's reserve from the last war, Major Peacock rejoined the R.A.O.C. shortly after the outbreak of the present war, when he was living at Burton-Stather. He had, three and a half years previously, transferred his business from Scunthorpe to Burton. Since rejoining the Army he has served with Northern and Eastern Commands, and in the Northumbria area.

Major Peacock, it will be remembered, was an ardent worker for the War Memorial Hospital of which he was a governor during his several years of active business connections in Scunthorpe. One of the pioneers of the new hospital, he was, for a long period, chairman of the Appeals Committee, and worked long and arduously with the secretary, Mr. A. E. Maw, in those early days of the hospital when ways and means were being constantly devised to raise the required income of this voluntary institution.

Major Peacock was also connected with the Scunthorpe Chamber of Trade, of which he had been president, and was several years secretary of the local Grocers' Association. During the last few years of the annual hospital carnival he acted as organiser, another sphere in which he accomplished a great deal of voluntary work. He actually came to Scunthorpe in 1920, immediately after demobilisation, to take over the business of the late Mr. Walter Bray. In the last war he served principally in East Africa, from 1915 to 1920, and it was in his old sphere of the 1914-18 war years that he rejoined the Army for this war.

The funeral took place in a little village churchyard in East Anglia, on Sunday afternoon, and he was laid to rest with full military honours. Officers and men of his regiment were present, together with representatives of units of other Commands, and the last post was sounded at the close. His son, Mr. J S. Peacock, of Buxton, a captain in the Home Guard, represented the family at the funeral. Major Peacock leaves a widow, two sons, and three daughters. One son and one daughter are married.

The Scunthorpe and Frodingham Star
Saturday January 9th 1943

Mike tells us that he has visited the grave in the churchyard of West Acre, North Norfolk whilst on holiday and felt humbled that the locals who never knew him still put a poppy wreath on it every year come Remembrance Sunday.

Record Details for Walter Ernest Peacock

First Names:Walter Ernest
Initials:W. E.
Surname:Peacock
DOB:Circa
Age:54
Birthplace:South East London
Nationality:British
Resided:Burton Stather
Death Date:
Family Info:Son of Walter Organ Peacock and Helen Peacock, husband of Dorothy Peacock, of Compton, Surrey.
Rank:Major, Acting Lieutenant Colonel
Service Number:59762
Service:British Army
Regiment:Royal Ordnance Corp (Volunteer Reserve)
Commemorated:Britain
Grave:West Acre (All Saints) Churchyard Map
Place of Death:United Kingdom
Bench:Flixboroguh Rd/Normanby Rd, Burton. on the green area by the School entrance. Mapphoto
Awards:

Map

Use the interactive map to view the location of Walter Ernest Peacock's Grave. Click the Bench link to view the location of his Memorial Bench. You can view all the graves, memorials and benches by downloading our which can be viewed in Google Earth and other mapping software.

Remembered with Honour.

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