No.675 Ernest William Peacock
Ernest William Peacock was born c1896 to William Peacock and Lottie Tampling in Footscray, Victoria. William and Lottie married in 1894 and one year later, welcomed their first child, Ada. Ernest was one of five children in the family:
- Ada - c1895
- Alfred - c1898
- Elsie - c1901
- Stanley - born 1910
On enlistment, 19-year-old Ernest was working as an apprentice cycle mechanic. He was described as 5 ft 6 ½ inches in height, weighing 10 stone, 3 lbs. He was of medium complexion with brown eyes and brown hair. At time of enlistment, Ernest was single and of the Presbyterian Faith.
Ernest was assigned to the Australian Imperial Force and was initially part of the 22nd Battalion, C Company, where his rank was a Private. Ernest later rose to rank of Driver. The 22nd Battalion was formed on 26 March 1915 at Broadmeadows, Victoria. Most of the battalion, including Ernest, embarked for Egypt on 8 May 1915. The unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses, although, some sources list date of embarkation as 10 May 1915.
From Egypt, the Battalion was deployed to Gallipoli in September of that year and served on the Peninsula until December of 1915. The unit was then brought back to Egypt to regain strength with an influx of new soldiers. During his time in Gallipoli, Ernest served as a machine gunner. In March 1916, the battalion embarked for France. Here, they took part in their first service on the Western Front in April 1916. The effort at Pozieres was the battalion's first major action. It was part of the British offensive on the Somme. Come September they were moved to the Ypres sector and back to Somme during the winter months.
1917 proved to be difficult, with the Battalion spending most of the year bogged in bloody trench warfare from Bullencourt to Broodseinde. The battalion was returned to the Somme Valley in 1918. This was likely to be the time in which Ernest, now part of the 6th Company, joined the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion. During his time with the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, Ernest served in France, most likely as a Driver. The 2nd Machine Gun Battalion formed in 1918 and combined the Machine Gun Companies of the three brigades within the Division. (5th, 6th, 7th and 22nd)
Ernest returned to Australia on the HJ Mahia which embarked on 4 June, 1919. He was discharged from service on 15 September of 1919.
After the war, Ernest resided in the Footscray area until around the time of his death on 26 December 1970. Ernest died in Heidelberg, Victoria (possibly at the Repatriation General Hospital) and is buried at Altona Memorial Park. He was survived by at least one son, Norman Ernest William Peacock. His marital status and other children are unknown.
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal