7933954 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
Frederick Pepper known as ‘Freddie’ was born around 1913, he was the only surviving child of Frederick Charles Bateman Pepper and Maud Lottie Pepper. His father was the Chief Clerk at the goods yard at Sudbury Railway Station and the family lived at 20 York Road. It is believed that his parents lived in or near to Stowmarket prior to moving to Sudbury as Freddie was educated at Stowmarket County School and was employed at Stowmarket Post Office before transferring to Sudbury Post Office, which was then in Station Road in 1933. Freddie never married and is remembered by people today as being ‘a smart well dressed lad, with a black moustache’ and ‘a person who seemed to enjoy life’. He often took part in variety shows arranged by the Post Office Concert Party before the war.
Freddie was also a keen sportsman and a valued member of the Stour Boat Club where he was known by the nickname of ‘Pepp’ and held the position at one time of Honorary Secretary. A report on his death in the Suffolk and Essex Free Press in October 1944 described him as ‘very well known in the town’, ‘a cheery and likable companion’.
In 1941 Freddie was called up and joined the Tank Corps before being transferred to the Durham Light Infantry. It was with them that he landed in Normandy on ‘D Day’ the 6th June 1944.
On 2nd June members of the 9th Battalion were onboard an American Navy landing craft, still docked in harbour and unaware of their destination. With about 150 troops onboard it was very cramped and ‘killing time’ was the worst problem. They were allowed to go ashore just once a day for a meal. The night of the 5th June they were all issued with seasickness pills and that evening they left harbour. The crossing was very bad due to the appalling weather. The next morning they scrambled ashore on Gold Beach. One survivor later wrote ‘after 200 – 300 yards all hell broke loose as shellfire flew around’.
Freddie died of wounds aged 31 on 13th September 1944 and lies buried in Brussels Town Cemetery, Belgium.
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