MEMORIES OF MY FATHER:
20627 Private Charles Pepper
Roger Pepper, who, with his wife Jan and Nadir Imamoğlu facilitate the annual commemoration at the Gallipoli Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, has kindly sent us this story about his father, who served at Gallipoli.
Like most children, I took little notice of my father’s efforts in the Great War, much to my regret.
My father was born at Ashley, Staffordshire, where there is a plaque in the church bearing the names of all the men from the village who fought in the Great War. He signed up and was sent for training, which was fairly short.
In 1915, late in the Gallipoli campaign, he landed on the beaches there. A few nights before he had dreamt that he and a friend were running up the beach at Gallipoli together. This is exactly what happened.
Heat was a problem during the day and it was cold at night. Food was in short supply, except for apricot jam, which he developed a dislike for ever afterwards.
Dad survived Gallipoli and was posted to the Somme where he was badly wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans. He was eventually repatriated and returned to England in 1918.
A few years ago I was privileged to go to Gallipoli and visit the memorials and walk on the beach where I think my father landed. I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by Kevin Darby who was very knowledgeable about the campaign and was writing a book about it.
I am extremely proud to own my father’s medals and wear them in his memory on 25th April every year at the Gallipoli Remembrance Service at the National Arboretum. I hope that in the future my children and grandchildren will do the same and that we will will never forget the great self sacrifice that so many made.