The family of a mystery Northamptonshire soldier whose name is engraved on a gold watch discovered in an African flea market has come forward.
The watch’s new owner appealed for information via a story in the Daventry Express after some initial research into the name, Regimental Sgt Major Oliver Dipper, showed he was originally from Daventry.
Now Andy Forrest, from Daventry, who is married to Oliver Dipper’s great niece, has come forward. And he revealed that descendants of Mr Dipper’s live four doors away from his old address of more than 100 year ago, in what is now called Williams Terrace.
Mr Forrest said: “We’re stunned. I do a lot of military research myself and go to exhibitions and I thought we’d found out all we could about Oliver.
“To hear there is another element to his story is amazing. As far as I can tell he served across the the world but never in South Africa so I’m fascinated as to how it ended up there.
“He must have lost it somewhere along the way.
“It’s great that his descendants live just down the road still.”
Oliver Charles Dipper joined the army in 1917.
He had a twin brother and so ended up in the Northumberland Fusiliers, rather than a Northamptonshire regiment, because the Government were wary about groups of family members and friends being killed at the same time, leading to bad morale
The Northumberland Fusiliers were a sister regiment.
In World War One he won a DCM and was a Regimental Sgt Major until 1917, when he was commissioned. (This dates the watch’s engraving to 1917).
He later also served in the Second World War where he won the military MBE, eventually leaving the army as a lieutenant aged a remarkable 72-years-old.
Moving to Germany, he died aged 83 having married twice and fathered seven children.