Bert Sheppard (1894-1917)
Gunner Bert Sheppard was probably the son of George Sheppard and his wife Minnie Perry, born about 1893 in Bristol, Gloucestershire. He was with his parents in the 1901 and then working at a Bristol colliery in the 1911 census. He married Kate Eastlake in the third quarter of 1914 in Bristol, Kate being the daughter of John Eastlake and Mary Ann Hignell.
Bert served in the 36th Battery, 33rd Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. He must have already been in the military at the time of his marriage and the outbreak of hostilities because he was awarded the 1914 Star with clasp. The 1914 Star was restricted to those who served in France or Belgium between 5 August and 22 November 1914, and the clasp signifies that Bert had served ‘under fire of the enemy’ in that timeframe. Key campaigns included the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne and the first battle of Ypres. As explained on the Great War 1914-1918 website:
It should be remembered that recipients of this medal were responsible for assisting the French to hold back the German army while new recruits could be trained and equipped. Collectively, they fully deserve a great deal of honour for their part in the first sixteen weeks of the Great War. This included the battle of Mons, the retreat to the Seine, the battles of Le Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne and the first battle of Ypres. There were approximately 378,000 1914 Stars issued.
Bert died of his wounds on 21 July 1917 from a major offensive in the Flanders region, where the Battle of Arras and Third Battle of Ypres were fought. He is buried at Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, service number 65194.
‘A Guide to British Campaign Medals of WW1’, The Great War 1914-1918, http://www.greatwar.co.uk/medals/ww1-campaign-medals.htm, [accessed 24 Jun 2016].
‘The 1914 Star’, The Great War 1914-1918, http://www.greatwar.co.uk/medals/ww1-campaign-medals.htm, [accessed 24 Jun 2016].
‘Battle of Paschendaele, July-Nov 1917’, Imperial War Museums, © IWM (Q 2979), http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205079930, accessed [24 Jun 2016].