Bank of England records released this morning include their documents on the war service of the clerks who left between 1914-1918. Hundreds of young men were given “war leave” over the period, and many returned to the Bank afterwards.
One of those young men was Kenneth Peppiatt, 20 or 21 in 1914 – who was later the chief cashier at the Bank for 15 years, including during the entire second world war.
If you’re old enough, you might remember his signature at the bottom of bank notes.
Peppiatt was not only awarded a military cross in the August 1918, but gained a bar for the medal in October that year. The bar indicates a second act that would have merited a military cross. In the history of the City of London Battalion of the London Regiment, Peppiatt wrote in his diary a bullet that grazed his head north of Lens, Belgium “tumbled me down an embankment like a shot rabbit”.
The records show Peppiatt went back to work at the Bank all of eight days after being demobilised early in 1919. Fifteen years later, he was made chief cashier, a job he kept until 1949, during which time he was awarded a KBE. After his time at the Bank, went to work at private bank Coutts and lived until 1983.
The records of another chief cashier, Basil Catterns, is also found in the records – Catterns joined the army two years after Peppiatt, and was wounded in the leg and head in 1917. He was made chief cashier in 1929 and held the position until Peppiatt took over in 1934.