Another part of the mystery of Daventry soldier’s gold watch solved

Sgt Oliver Charles Dipper standing alongside his brother Pte George Dipper taken on September 20, 1915.
Sgt Oliver Charles Dipper standing alongside his brother Pte George Dipper taken on September 20, 1915.

The daughter of a Daventry soldier whose gold watch was found on a market in South Africa has got in touch.

Dorothy Pullen, 73, now lives in Surrey, but is the daughter of Oliver Charles Dipper.

She said: “I was with a friend who showed me information they found on one of their relatives from searching online.

“When I got home I decided to do the same for my family, and all these stories popped up about my father Oliver Dipper and the gold watch.”

A gold watch inscribed with the details of RSM Oliver Charles Dipper DCM, who served with the Northumberland Fusiliers in the 1914-18 conflict was recently bought on a flea market in Cape Town.

Intrigued by the watch, its new owner contacted the Fusiliers regimental association in order to find Mr Dipper’s relatives. Major Chester Potts (retired), chairman of the Fusiliers Association (Northumberland), carried out some research into Mr Dipper and discovered that before the war he lived at Feir Croft Villas, Drayton Lane (now Williams Terrace), Daventry.

Mr Dipper served with the Army in Egypt, but until now it has been a mystery as to how the watch made its way south across the whole of Africa.

Mrs Pullen said: “My father and the family were in Egypt at the start of the Second World War. The family were evacutated to Durban in South Africa – where I was born in 1941.

“After the war we all moved back to Daventry – to a house in Orchard Street.

“I guess the watch was sold, lost or stolen during the move. It’s not an item I remember seeing, or hearing people talk about either.

“We lived in Daventry for a while, maybe a year, and then we went to Catterick Camp in Yorkshire. But after all my father had been through, serving in both World Wars, I don’t think he could cope living with a family. My parents separated, which is why my father could move to Germany.

Oliver Charles Dipper joined the Army in 1914, along with his twin brother George. He was in the Northumberland Fusiliers, a sister regiment to Northamptonshire’s. In World War One he won a DCM and was a Regimental Sgt Major until 1917, when he was commissioned. He later also served in the Second World War where he won the military MBE, eventually leaving the Army as a lieutenant aged 72.