H.M.S. Victoria Survivors
Antonio Pepe
Carpenters Mate Antonio Pepe

Antonio Pepe was born on the Island of Malta in 1855.
A trained Carpenter by trade, he entered the RN on
board HMS Hercules in the rate of  “Carpenter’s Crew”
on 3 Jan ’76.

He then served on HMS Helicon ( a despatch vessel)
for a year, then drafted to the Malta Base ship HMS
Hibernia prior to be drafted to HMS Falcon, a small
composite screw gunvessel of ’77.  In here he saw
service in the 1882-'85 Egypt campaign, earning the
Egypt medal.  Falcon was one of the smaller, seldom
seen ships, in the campaign, earning 113 no clasp
Egypt medals. Falcon missed the bombardment of
Alexandra by one day, arriving in the theatre on 12
July. Falcon also saw service in the Suakin & Nile River
campaigns of ’84-’85.
HMS Camperdown at Malta
HMS Falcon  

Artisans Rate
Pepe left Falcon on 9 Feb ’85, & was drafted to HMS
Alexandra, served on her for 2 months & then was
drafted to HMS Cruiser ( Sloop of ’52) where he
served for 4 years.  His next draft, on 19 Nov ’89,
was to HMS Agamemnon (B/S of ’79) in which ship he
receives his LS medal on 26 Mar ’91. He was also
promoted in rate to Leading Carpenter’s crew on 10
Mar ‘92 prior  to leaving her on 13 Sep ‘92.

His next draft on 14 Sept '92 was to HMS
Camperdown {B/S of '85) when she recommissioned
as Flagship of Rear Admiral Hastings Markham, 2nd in
Command of the Mediterranean Fleet.

Pepe was on board her on that fateful afternoon of
22 June ’93 when Camperdown rammed & sank HMS
Victoria in a calm sunlit sea,& he likely would have
known his shipmate
Charles Moist who’s LS medal is
shown in this showcase.  Moist was a Blacksmith, &
Pepe was a Carpenter’s mate, both trained artisans,
so they both must have been very busy men on that
afternoon & evening keeping Camperdown afloat.
The only reason Camperdown remained afloat & did not follow Victoria to the bottom on
that afternoon was due to the quick action of her Carpenter & his crew who built a
temporary bulkhead to stop the hundreds of tons of seawater pouring into her.  Her
megacentric height was reduced to virtually nil & she would have sunk had it not been a
very calm day. Repairs to Camperdown took until September.

Camperdown was Pepe's last ship - he left her on 10 May ’95 to be drafted to HMS Hibernia
& complete his time before going to pension on 21 July ’95.