William Shannon (Bill) PEAKE


PEAKE, William Shannon

Service Number: 416604
Enlisted: 21 July 1941
Last Rank: Pilot Officer
Last Unit: Aircraft / Repair / Salvage Depots
Born: Naracoorte, South Australia, 14 September 1917
Home Town: Port Lincoln, Port Lincoln, South Australia
Schooling: Beachport Primary, Naracoorte & Mount Gambier Primary school, Port Lincoln High School and Prince Alfred College
Occupation: Shipping clerk Adelaide Steamship Company
Died: Fractured skull & neck due to fall from train, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, 17 May 1942, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Mitcham Cemetery, S.A.
Cremated at Rookwood Crematorium in Sydney Memorial plaque at Mitcham General Cemetery, South Australia Section E, Path 25, Grave 528A
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

21 Jul 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 416604, Adelaide, South Australia
21 Jul 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 416604, Aircraft / Repair / Salvage Depots
17 May 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 416604, Aircraft / Repair / Salvage Depots

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Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

William Shannon PEAKE was born on 14th September, 1917 at Naracoorte in South Australia

His parents were Edward John PEAKE and Alison Vera Bartlett SHANNON

He was working as a Shipping Clerk in the Adelaide Steamship Company before  enlisting in the Royal Australian Air  Force on 21st July, 1941 in Adelaide, SA - he trained at Victor Harbour, Parafield & Mallala and gained his commission as a Pilot Officer - he was then transferred to Sydney 

William died on 17th May, 1942 after falling from the Brisbane Express & was found by a fettler in a tunnel about 3 miles south of Coffs Harbour - his death was due to a fractured skull & a broken neck

His body was sent back to Sydney by train and cremated at Rookwood Crematorium in Sydney - his family conducted a burial service for him at Mitcham General Cemetery in South Australia where he has a memorial plaque

His name is memorialised on the Australian War Memorial & the Roll of Honour in Port Lincoln, South Australia


His sister Patricia PEAKE also served in the RAAF as an Aircraftwoman (SN107198)


Trove articles (National Library of Australia)

Border Watch (Mount Gambier) 23rd June, 1942 page 3

Pilot Office, William Shannon Peake whose death in tragic circumstances was recorded recently, was a son of Mr. & Mrs. E.J. Peake of Mount Gambier and a grandson of the late E.R. Peake, an old resident of the Naracoorte District

He was 24 years of age and was born at Naracoorte in 1917.  He attended the primary schools at Beachport at Naracoorte and Mount Gambier and completed his education at the Port Lincoln High School & Prince Alfred College.

He was promiment in athletic circles, being a member of the Sturt & Keswick & Wayville Tennis Clubs and a member of the team which won the A grade pennant in 1940

He also won the Eyre Peninsula Junior Tennis Championship and played football in the amateur league and cricket in the Adelaide Turf Association with the Prince Alfred Old Collegians

He met his death accidentally whilst on his journey by rail to a Northern Area Base.

It is believed that his death was due to injuries sustained as a result of a train mishap.  Pilot Officer Peake was well known at Port Lincoln & his father held the position of station master for a number of years.

He was highly regarded by all who knew him and was particularly prominent in sporting circles

                               ALWAYS REMEMBERED