Cyril Pepper was the son of Richard Stennart Pepper and Evelyn May Pepper, of Auckland; husband of Arawa Joy Pepper, of Timaru, Canterbury.
All Black 1935-1936
Died after a fall in Wellington.
Remembered on the Takapuna War Memorial, The Strand, Takapuna.
Name mispelt as Stennard by Evening Post, June 1943
Lt C. S. Pepper, MC; born NZ 18 Nov 1911; clerk; injured 26 Nov 1941; died Wellington, 30 May 1943. (Source: Murphy, W.E. 2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery. p.206.)
'Only L2 and L4 and the eight 25-pounders now remained in action and they fought a furious action against a large body of tanks. Some of the field guns quickly ran through their small stocks of AP shot and had to use HE shell and then, when this was finished, smoke shell. Captain Stewart, forward in his pick-up truck, at first directed the fire of F Troop. Then, as the range dropped, he ordered Gun Control and the field guns fired over open sights. ‘Spare’ gunners manned Bren guns or rifles from the ground alongside the guns and kept up heavy fire. Extra ammunition for the two remaining 2-pounders came from the other two and the troop commander, Lieutenant Pepper, scouting round the desert, found some more and replenished the rapidly dwindling stocks on the two portées.
After an hour of this firing, almost continuous on the part of the anti-tank gunners (who could see more from their high platforms than could the field gunners, often blinded by dust on the ground), the enemy tanks and transport drew off, leaving behind many blazing tanks and trucks. By a careful count, which included only burning tanks, the two L Troop guns, with some help from the field guns, had disabled the remarkable total of 24 tanks, though at long range and under such confusing conditions it was hard to be sure. Each of the two portées fired more than 300 rounds, a quite extraordinary total. Bombardier Barker, who was layer on L2, says that at some stages targets were ‘very numerous and creeping closer all the time, so it was practically impossible to miss a shot.’ But much of the shooting was nevertheless at long range and the gunners were delighted to see that their fire was effective. As Sergeant Robertson, who commanded L2, says, ‘We fired at everything we saw and put tanks on fire with one or two shots at extreme range, 1800 yards’. For the field gunners the range was even longer, for they were north of the 2-pounders and the tanks came from the south-west. Throughout the action Lieutenant Pepper moved from gun to gun—when he was not away looking for more ammunition—and one gunner recalls his ‘shouts of joy as the German column veered to the left past our guns’, adding that Pepper ‘had courage to burn’. All were later delighted to learn that Pepper won for this action an MC.' (Source: Murphy, W.E. 2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery. pp. 206-8.) AWMM