Gold watch found in South Africa belonged to WWI soldier from Daventry

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An appeal has been made to reunite a gold watch with the descendants of the decorated First World War soldier from Daventry who owned it.

The watch was recently bought at a flea market in Cape Town, South Africa, and is inscribed with the details of RSM Oliver Charles Dipper DCM, who served with the Northumberland Fusiliers in the 1914-18 conflict.

Its new owner, Brad Geyser, contacted the Fusiliers regimental association in order to find Mr Dipper’s relatives and return the watch to his family.

Mr Geyser said: “The watch is in working condition but the minute and hour hands need replacing.

“I am a serving officer in the South African Defence Force and know how much such items mean to the families of those who have served.”

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, Daventry, and worked as a machinist.

He also unearthed Mr Dipper’s citation (see panel right) for the Distinguished Conduct Medal he was awarded for bravery in 1918.

“In military terms the DCM is a near miss for a Victoria Cross,” said Major Potts.

Mr Dipper, who was born in 1897, went on to serve in the Second World War and was promoted to Major in 1946.

“I am sure there is a lot more to his story,” added Major Potts. “

But it is obvious that some time after the Second World War he emigrated to South Africa and when he died his watch was eventually sold off with other items.

“He may still have family in the Daventry or Northampton area. It would be wonderful if we could track down any surviving relatives and return the watch to his family.”