Village memories: Villas at Northern Woods (picture from SWOP website)
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RIFLEMAN 330432 1/8 HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT(ISLE OF WIGHT RIFLES). KILLED IN ACTION 19/4/17 AGED 22YRS
BURIED AT GAZA WAR CEMETERY,
Archie Thomas Pepper was born on 10 November 1893 at 12,Hazelbury Road, Fulham, the only son of Walter and Emma Elizabeth nee Hughes of Springfield Cottages, Northern Woods/Northend Woods, Buckinghamshire. He had two younger sisters, Alice May and Elsie Frances.
His parents were married at Wooburn on Christmas Eve 1892. Walter was a carpenter journeyman born in Well End, Buckinghamshire and Emma was a millhand from Northern Woods. The children all attended the Wooburn Church school and had to walk across the railway every day to reach it. Archie was a “mum’s boy” tall and well built with gingery hair freckles and prominent teeth. He played football for Flackwell Heath and worked at Jackson’s Mill.
Many young men from the area volunteered for the Isle of Wight rifles at the outbreak of WW1. The reason so many men joined this regiment was because Captain John Edward Rhodes was given command of the 1/8 Hampshire Regiment otherwise known as Princess Beatrice’s Own, The Isle of Wight Rifles, and he was the Agent for the Little Marlow Estate. There was little resistance when Captain Rhodes went recruiting among the locals as the Estate was the main employer and owned most of the farms. The men were offered a pound each which was more than a week’s wages for some of them.
Archie was injured in the Second Battle of Gaza on 19th April 1917 and his parents were told he was “wounded and missing”in May 1917 but he was not officially declared dead until February 1918.
Archie is remembered on both the Flackwell Heath War Memorial and Wooburn as well as being named in the Memorial Book. His parents are buried in Wooburn Cemetery.