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Firstly a Tribute - 2013


2013 began with great sadness. My wife's father, who was in his 90s became acutely ill with throat cancer.

Naturally, we cancelled our planned trip to Thailand, in order that Janet could spend time with him and help with the care of her mother. We shall always remember him with both love and respect and we are grateful that we were able to spend the last couple of months with him, rather than have the shock of his sudden passing.

Below is a transcript of the Eulogy that was delivered at his funeral.

A Tribute to Frank Douglas Pepperrell
10th February 1919 to 22nd March 2013

Frank - what does the word Frank mean?

The dictionary definition is:

- Completely Honest
- Scrupulous
- Candid
- Above Board.

Well this definition also sums up Frank Douglas Pepperrell, the man, - extremely well!


I know little of his early life as he spoke little of it. It was not an easy life, not a life of luxury or even of much comfort, but it was a struggle - and this built the man that we all knew.

Winning a scholarship to Grammar School that he was unable to take up, as his mother could not afford the uniform, he took it as his responsibility to work
- working in a fishmonger's in Kingston Market, in his uncle's greengrocers, and delivering papers for extra cash.

Having a fascination with radio, he began building crystal sets and strove to gain employment in electrical or mechanical engineering.

This led him to knock on the front door of a manager of Hawker Siddeley aviation, where he was delivering papers, to ask if he could be considered for an apprenticeship.

His efforts paid dividends and he went to work for Hawker Siddeley, where, by the time he finished his apprenticeship, he was put in charge of several men, working nights.

At Hawkers, he was in his element, meeting with great names in the aviation industry such as Tommy Sopwith and Sidney Camm. These are now almost legendary figures and were certainly a source of much inspiration to the young Frank.

Then along came World War 2.

Having an intense sense of patriotism and belief in "doing the right thing", Frank, despite being in a reserved occupation and one that he loved, volunteered for the East Surrey Regiment to become a radio operator, going to France soon after the outbreak of war.

He never talked much of these times or of returning from Dunkirk in 1940. Only a handful of his particular unit came back. Many of the friends that he enlisted with, in Kingston, did not.

With an injured leg, he was medically downgraded and posted to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and later to the Depot of the Royal West Kent Regiment in Chatham, where he met his future wife, Anne - they married in June, 1944.

When the war finished, he wanted to provide for his wife and for his family to be.

He was a trained engineer and found skilled employment as a professional technical civil servant in Farnborough, Hampshire. Frank was of the "old school", always believing in "doing the right thing" -
and in the right way!

Frequently working long hours, he provided well for his family - Anne, Sandra, Janet and Alan.

He took great pride in designing and building his own things - household furniture, heating systems, radio and later Hi-Fi equipment (he had an enormous collection of vinyl, tape and CD music) and Frank and Anne built a family life together.

Always a sensible and sober man, he nevertheless had a reputation for being a first class host and, additionally, organised frequent social trips and outings for his work colleagues and their families.
Frank got his enjoyment from seeing others enjoy themselves.

I got to know Frank and Anne in Farnborough, before they moved to Forest Hill. I married their daughter, Janet, late in 1967 about 6 months after they moved in to their present home.

As a young and newly married man, I frequently asked myself, "What would Frank (who was dad by now) do?"

Janet and I are still together nearly 46 years later, so I must have read his mind correctly!

Frank came to London to take up a position at the Woolwich Arsenal, where he became Apprentice Master. This was one of his proudest moments, enabling him to pass on the skills, knowledge and work ethic that he had built up during his working life.

He threw himself whole-heartedly into this role - building up links with industry, professional organisations and educational establishments, such as nearby Bromley College.

In addition to being a mentor to his "boys", Frank gave pastoral care and took a great interest in "his" apprentices' well-being. He always tried to pass on the values that had stood him in good stead - Dedication and Respect for others.

Throughout this period he was always there - supporting and caring for his family too and always "doing the right thing".

On leaving the Civil Service, he was awarded the Imperial Service Medal and settled down to retirement - which actually meant he was always busy doing things.

The "projects" around the home multiplied and Anne was increasingly surrounded by "work in progress".

His garden turned into a bright and colourful area; Frank making the most of the space available, with innumerable, colourful, flowers and shrubs.

His music collection increased and he re-built and upgraded his equipment numerous times - adding to his music collection and converting his beloved vinyl records, initially to tape and then to CDs.

Frank and Anne's home became a place of colour and cheerful music where there was always a warm welcome for family and friends.

Unfortunately he was knocked down in a road accident, impairing his mobility, and his health never recovered fully.
Frank will be sadly missed by his wife, Anne; daughters, Sandra, and Janet; son, Alan; sister, Joan; 7 grandchildren; 16 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren.

I know that he was a role model to me - especially early in my marriage. Throughout his life he both tried and succeeded to be a good example to family, friends and colleagues alike.

A modest, quiet and unassuming family man - completely honest, scrupulous, candid and, always, above board in all his dealings.

Frank, Dad, Grandad - we are all proud to have known you, to have learned from you,
and to have loved you.

Thank you!

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