Private Conolly James Pepper


Conolly James Pepper was born on 8 August 1898 at Dunanelly, Downpatrick, County Down, the fifth of eight children of coachman (later domestic gardener) Richardson Pepper and his wife Sarah (nee Hamilton). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballynacraig, County Down, with his parents and three siblings. Pepper's father worked for the Reverend Benjamin Finch White, initially at Waringstown, then (from 1895) at Downpatrick.

Pepper enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 20 August and 20 September 1915 (No.1724 – later Corps of Hussars No.71522). He was only 17 at the time.

It appears that he was immediately assigned as batman to North Irish Horse officer Major Arthur Kenlis Maxwell (Lord Farnham). (Pepper's family may have had some prior link to Farnham's family – his oldest brother was named John Maxwell.)

Pepper went with Farnham when he was attached to the headquarters staff of the 36th (Ulster) Division, embarking for France at the beginning of October 1915. He continued in Farnham's service throughout the war. From July 1916 to September 1917 Farnham again commanded a squadron of the North Irish Horse in France. He then took command of the 10th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers until February 1918, when the battalion was disbanded and Farnham was given command of the 2nd Battalion.

Farnham (and, most likely, Pepper) were captured at Boadicea Redoubt south west of St Quentin on the first day of the German Kaiserschlacht offensive on 21 March 1918.

Pepper remained in Farnham's service while in captivity at the Karlsruhe Officers' camp, and probably remained with him until the end of the war. Following his repatriation and return to England, on 9 April 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Pepper worked as a chauffer. On 23 August 1922 he married Margaret Moffett Cree at St Mary's Church of Ireland Parish Church, Dunsford, County Down.