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Thomas Pepper was born during the first quarter of 1895 and was the son of James and Jane Pepper of 30 Well Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs.

Thomas was 20 years 10 months old and living at home with his parents when he enlisted in the Territorial Force at Hanley on 24th November 1915. He joined the 3/5th (Territorial) Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment with the number 5526 and was embodied immediately.

At the time of his enlistment the medical officer described Thomas as standing 5ft 2.5in tall with a 33in chest but of good physical development.

On 18th August 1916 he sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne having been transferred to the 1/5th Battalion of the North Staffs for service in France.

On 21st September 1916 he was transferred to the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment but posted to the 7th Battalion of the Regiment to support them during their offensives on the Somme. Upon joining the Loyal North Lancs he was given the number 27556.

Private Thomas Pepper was fatally wounded in action on 13th November 1916 during the capture of Regina Trench. He had sustained gun shot wounds to his left arm, left foot and legs. He was extracted from the battlefield by No. 58 field ambulance but unfortunately succumbed to his wounds the same day. He had been in France for just 87 days.

The War Diary reads;


11th November 1916: Parades 9.30 to 12 noon. Fatigue parties of 120. 7pm – Operation orders for attack received. Three more military medals given to the Battalion.

12th November 1916: Conference of OCs. Cmdg. Coys for attack. Orders issued verbally by C.O. Church parade 10.30 a.m. Companies moved off to the trenches at 3 p.m. Relief completed by 7.30 p.m.

13th November 1916: “A” Coy. took over the front line. Other Coys. assembled in and near BAINBRIDGE. Had hot Oxo at 1 a.m. and then moved forward in front of STUFF TRENCH. Remained there till zero 5.45 a.m. when all three coys. advanced in two waves. “A” Coy. remained to hold STUFF TRENCH.

Whole attack went well and objective gained in 10 minutes thanks to the able leading of Captain H. C. Bennett and the way in which the men kept close to the artillery barrage. Very thick mist all day – which helped the attack. The enemy were taken by surprise and large numbers of prisoners, between 100 and 200 men, were captured by the Battalion. Our own casualties were slight – about 5 officers and 81 other ranks. Prisoners of about 5 different regiments were taken,  72, 91, 144 and 167th.

Owning to the mist, Companies had got very much mixed up and in all cases had overrun the objective. Patrols had gone forward to the river ANCRE. New line consolidated throughout the day fron R.20.a.8.8. to R.14.c.0.1. In touch with 7/E.Lan.R. on right and 1/Herts on left.

Thomas Pepper was buried in the Contay British Cemetery.

Of the 5 officers and 81 other ranks who were casualties, the following men died on the same day as Thomas;

Second Lieutenant HERMAN FLETCHER
Second Lieutenant TRIPP
27368 Private E FREER
14724 Private R GLEDHILL
17066 Lance Corporal HERBERT EDWARD HAMER
12579 Private J H WHITTAKER

Thomas’ next of kin would receive his British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal in addition to a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name and in recognition of his sacrifice. They would also create their own tribute to their son to hang in their home.thomas pepper

Rank: Private
Service No: 27556
Date of Death: 13/11/1916
Age: 21
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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One Response to 27556 PTE. T. PEPPER. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Callan chevin says:

    Thanks for this info.
    I work in Newcastle under Lyme and it’s nice to see a local man remembered

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