Flight Lieutenant Peter Ernest Rivett, the son of Ronald Rupert Rushmore Rivett and Doris Nina Rivett (nee Skinner), was born at Toowoomba in Queensland on 7th April 1921. He was educated at the Church of England Preparatory School in Toowoomba and later at the Toowoomba Grammar School. He was enrolled into the Reserve of the Royal Australian Air Force on 17th February 1941 after swearing the statutory oath of allegiance. At the time of his enrolment, he was single and was employed as a Bank Clerk at the Commonwealth Bank, Ruthven Street, Toowoomba. He resided at 329 Margaret Street, Toowoomba. His father resided at the Atcherley Private Hotel, Queen Street, Brisbane. He had previously served in the Militia for eighteen months with the 25th Infantry Battalion with the rank of Lance Sergeant. At the age of 20 years and 3 months he was enlisted into the Citizen Air Force of the Royal Australian Air Force at No. 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane on 20th July 1941 after giving a commitment that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. His physical description at the time of enlistment was that he was 5 feet 11 inches in height and weighed 149 pounds. He had a medium complexion, blue eyes and black hair. He stated that he was of the Church of England religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr Ronald Rivett, c/- Union Trustee Coy., 400 Queen Street, Brisbane.
Flight Lieutenant Peter Rivett was allotted the service number of 414084. He joined No. 3 Initial Training School at Amberley on 20th July 1941. He joined No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School at Archerfield on 16th October 1941. He joined No. 2 Service Flying Training School at Wagga Wagga in New South Wales on 14th December 1941. After completing his pilot training at Wagga he was awarded the Pilot Qualification Badge on 6th March 1942. He joined No. 5 Service Flying Training School at Uranquinty on 2nd April 1942. He was appointed to the commissioned rank of Flying Officer on 29th April 1942. He joined No. 3 Embarkation Depot at Sandgate in Queensland on 20th May 1942 and later joined No. 2 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park in Sydney to prepare for movement overseas on attachment to the Royal Air Force. He embarked from Australia on 2nd July 1942 and he disembarked in England on 17th August 1942.
Flight Lieutenant Peter Rivett, after arriving in England, was sent to No. 12 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit at Royal Air Force Station Grantham on 1st September 1942 which was a finishing school for pilots trained elsewhere. He joined No. 61 Operational Training Unit at Royal Air Force Station Heston on 7th October 1942 where he trained on single-seat fighter aircraft. He was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer on 30th October 1942. He joined No. 1 Personnel Despatch Centre on 4th January 1943 for movement overseas. He disembarked in North Africa on 9th February 1943 and joined the Recruitment Pool later that day. He joined No. 325 Wing Royal Air Force on 17th February 1943. He joined No. 93 Squadron in North Africa for operational flying on 4th March 1943. He emplaned from North Africa for Malta on 10th June 1943 and he joined Middle East Command on 4th July 1943. He was slightly injured in air operations at Pettuna Landing Ground in Italy on 16th February 1944.
Flight Lieutenant Peter Rivett joined No. 3 Base Personnel Depot on 3rd March 1944 having completed a tour of flying operations. He then joined Headquarters Royal Air Force Middle East Command for instructional duty on 8th April 1944 and No. 22 Personnel Transit Centre on 13th April 1944. He was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant on 30th April 1944. He was posted to Royal Air Force Ismailia for instructional duties on 3rd May 1944. Flight Lieutenant Peter Rivett was the pilot of a No 71 Operational Training Unit Spitfire Fighter EB EP.511 that collided with another aircraft over Ismailia, Egypt, on 18 May 1944. At the time of his death he was 23 years of age. His remains were laid to rest in the Moascar War Cemetery in Egypt. His headstone in the Moascar War Cemetery contains the family inscription “He Gave His All – Dearly Loved”.
An investigation into the collision came to the following conclusion:
Flight Lieutenant Rivett in Spitfire VB EP.511 was leading a section of 4 aircraft carrying out a cooperation exercise with 3 Marauders from Shandur. After making some attacks Sergeant Bailey, in Spitfire VB ES.227, who was No. 2 in the section, broke away downwards to starboard and collided with Flight Lieutenant Rivett, knocking his tail off. The latter aircraft then spun down, bursting into flames on the ground. Pilot Officer Rivett being killed. Sergeant Bailey came back and landed with a damaged propeller.
Flight Lieutenant Rivett’s name is commemorated on Panel No. 129 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
His photograph and the following details of his death were published in the Toowoomba Chronicle on 24th May 1944:
News has been received of the death, as the result of an aircraft accident over Ismalia, Egypt, of Flying Officer Peter Ernest Rivett (23 years), elder son of Mr and Mrs R. Rivett, of Brisbane, formerly of Toowoomba, with whom he lived from his early school days to the time of his enlistment in the R.A.A.F. Flying Officer Rivett was educated at the Church of England Boys’ School and at the Toowoomba Grammar School. He entered the Toowoomba Branch of the Commonwealth Bank in 1938, where he remained until he enlisted in the R.A.A.F. in 1941. In 1942 he received his commission as Pilot Officer, and in 1943 was made Flying Officer. He left for overseas in 1942 and served in England, North Africa, Sicily and Italy. His brother, Bob, is a member of the A.I.F.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 30th January 1935 and left the School on 3rd December 1937. His parent was shown as Mr Ronald Rupert Rushmere Rivett of Toowoomba/Kingaroy. He passed eight subjects in the Junior examination and after leaving school, joined the Commonwealth Bank. He was Dux in Sub-Junior, U14 Athletics Champion, and Swimming Champion of the Combined Schools. As reported in the June 1938 School Magazine, he received the Junior Science Prize. Prior to attending Toowoomba Grammar School, he was educated at the Church of England Boys’ School.