SHEPPARD, William Joseph
Died 28th Feb 1915
Unit 3rd Kings Royal Rifles, Part of 80th Brigade, 27th Division.
William Joseph was born Tardebigge in Worcestershire, in 1891 only son of Thomas and Mary (nee Workman) Sheppard. Thomas was a carpenter and by 1901 the family had moved to Rugby where Thomas worked as a railway carriage spring maker. The family lived at 25 Corbett Street.
By 1911 William had enlisted with the 3″’ Battalion Kings Royal Rifles, and was in Dagshai, India. At the start of the war the Battalion was in Meerut, India. They arrived England on November 18th 1914 and William landed in Le Havre December 20th 1914.
On 13th February the Rugby Advertiser announced that:
“News has been received that Rifleman William Sheppard, of the King’s Royal Rifles, son of Mr T Sheppard, of 26 Corbett Street, has been seriously wounded at the front, presumably by shrapnel. Rifleman Sheppard, who went to the front with the Expeditionary Force from India in November, is in a military hospital at Boulogne, his injuries consisting of a shattered thigh.”
A month later came the news that Rifleman Sheppard had died of the effects of his wounds.
In a letter to Mrs Sheppard, a lady visitor at the hospital expressed her sincere and heartfelt sympathy at his death, and added:- “I have been able to go and see him almost every day since he came in, so you will realise how sad I feel at his death. No one could help admiring him; Poor fellow! His pluck was wonderful, and never failed him up to the very last. He had to undergo an operation to his leg on Sunday afternoon. I was in the ward and he told me all about it himself beforehand.
“I have never seen anyone so calm; never a word of complaint or anxiety. He had just seemed quietly confident that everything would be for the best. I cannot tell you how much he impressed me, but then, he has always been like that all through his illness here – a true Briton, if ever I have met one. I have been in this place since October, and have known some splendid men in the hospital here.”
The amputation of Rifleman Sheppard’s leg was necessary owing to haemorrhage. He was accorded a military funeral and given a soldier’s last honours.
He was buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, grave ref. 111.C.72
When it was known he had passed away, the Union Jack at the Cambridge Street Wesleyan Church was flown at half-mast, and a sympathetic reference was made by the Rev E Wyman on Sunday.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM