Peake, Reuben Henry (No. 7611)

Peake Reuben Henry (Reuben)


No. 7611, 2nd & 7th Battalions, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Wednesday 8 August 1917 (aged 18)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 40)

Ballywalter and District War Memorial

Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity)

Family grave headstone in Whitechurch Cemetery Ballywalter

Brother of Peake MM, William John (No. 19168)


Reuben Peake was born on 11 September 1898 at Springvale, Ballywalter and he was the second son of John and Elizabeth Peake (nee Hall) who were married on 15 September 1892 in Down Parish Church of Ireland Church, Downpatrick. John Peake was born in Scotland and Elizabeth Hall was born in County Cavan.

The Peake family lived in Saul Street, Downpatrick before moving to the townland of Ballyatwood, Ballywalter.

John Peake was employed by Lord Dunleath of Ballywalter Park where he worked for more than 22 years.  A skilled cabinet maker and French polisher, John Peake was head carpenter and he and Elizabeth had eight children:

William John (Jack, born 22 September 1893 in Saul Street, Downpatrick)

Isabella Dorothea (Dora, born 19 August 1895 in Saul Street, Downpatrick)

Mabel Elizabeth (born 25 May 1897 in Ballywalter)

Reuben Henry (born 11 September 1898 at Springvale, Ballywalter)

Robert Lyman (Bobbie, born 5.30 am 12 January 1900 at Killyvolgan, Ballywalter)

Joseph Haddon (Joe, born 6.00 am 112 January 1900 at Killyvolgan, Ballywalter)

Edmund Lovington (Eddie, born 2 October 1901 at Killyvolgan, Ballywalter; died of meningitis 1 March 1918 aged 16)

Kathleen Florence (born 18 January 1904 at Springvale, Ballywalter)

William John and Reuben Peake were grandsons of the late John Peake of Church Street, Downpatrick and grandsons of Mr and Mrs Joseph Hall of Drumcrow, Arva, County Cavan.

William John Peake was the first of the two brothers to die on active service in the Great War.

Their mother Elizabeth died on 20 June 1937 (aged 70) and their father John died on 25 June 1954 (aged 92).

Reuben Peake enlisted in Newtownards and he served initially with the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, later with the 7th Battalion.

Rifleman Reuben Peake was severely wounded on 9 July 1916 and was hospitalised in England but he recovered sufficiently to return to the fighting line and he served with the 7th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 48th Brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division.

Rifleman Reuben Peake was killed in action on 8 August 1917 whilst holding the line prior to the Battle of Langemarck.

Reuben Peake was 18 when he was killed in action, just over one year after his elder brother William John was killed in action, and at that time two of his uncles were also on active service in France.  His brother Joe was serving with the Royal Engineers and, after Jack and Reuben were killed in action, Lord Dunleath made representation that Joe would not be posted overseas.

Reuben Peake has no known grave and he is commemorated on Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium; on Ballywalter and District War Memorial; in Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity) and on the family grave headstone in Whitechurch Cemetery Ballywalter.