No. 534 Corporal George Henry Sheppard
[Recorded on Honor Board as Sheperd, G. H.]
George Sheppard was born at Footscray in 1887 to Henry Joseph Sheppard and Elizabeth Pennell.
The Sheppard’s had three sons who all saw service in the war.
- George H. Sheppard was the eldest (b.1887), and served with the 7th Battalion and was killed at Gallipoli on the first day.
- Bertie Sheppard (No 2010) was their second (b.1890), and he served with the 8th Battalion at Gallipoli and suffered sight damage because of his experience there. He later returned to the trenches and was killed in France in 1916.
- Henry Joseph 'Harry' Sheppard (No 2222) was the youngest (b.1896), and he served in France with the 23rd Battalion until he was returned to Australia at the end of February 1917, "for family reasons".
Their daughters were:
- Mary Ann May Sheppard, born at Footscray in 1893.
- Myrtle Olive Sheppard, born at Footscray in 1899.
- Elizabeth "Lizzie" Sheppard, born at Footscray in 1907.
- Ruth Sheppard, born at Footscray in 1912.
George Sheppard enlisted in the A.I.F. on 19 August 1914 at Footscray, and was sent to the Training Base at Broadmeadows where he was appointed to "E" Company. While there he was promoted to Lance Corporal on 1 September 1914.
The 7th Infantry Battalion departed from Melbourne per H.M.A.T. A20 Hororata on 19 October 1014, bound for Egypt. They made a brief stop in Albany Western Australia, and arrived in Egypt on 2 December 1914.
After a period of training the 7th Battalion embarked from Alexandria on 6 April 1915 for the Gallipoli Peninsula Campaign per HMT “Euripides” A14 . He was promoted to Corporal (provisional) on the same day.
The 7th Infantry Brigade was part of the second wave that landed at Anzac Cove, on the first day of the campaign. He was confirmed as Missing in Action during the course of the day, and became one of the many soldiers with an unknown grave.
A report was published in the local press stating that the family had heard from a reliable source that their son, Corporal Sheppard, had not been killed at Gallipoli, but had been taken prisoner and sent to Constantinople.
Independent (Footscray), 18 December 1915, p.2.
On 21 December 1915, Mrs Elizabeth Sheppard wrote to the Army and said that she had received information in a letter, that her son Corporal G.H. Sheppard was seen alive as a prisoner of war, in the Kasi-ill-nil Barracks at Constantinople. She asked that the matter be investigated. It was a copy of a letter from a Private A. Louis of the 8th Battalion to his sister, in which he stated that he knew Corporal G. H. Sheppard, and had seen him in a prisoner of war camp at Constantinople.
On 23 December 1915, the Army wrote to his Mother stating that no official report has been received to indicate that Corporal G.H. Sheppard was a prisoner of war.
On 31 December 1915, the Army wrote to his Mother stating that Military Authorities in Egypt would investigate if it could be officially confirmed that Corporal G. H. Sheppard was a prisoner of war at Constantinople.
The Army contacted Mrs Sheppard again on 11 January 1916, stating that the matter was still under investigation. They wrote to her again on 26 January to advise that the Ottoman Red Crescent, through the Geneva Red Cross, had investigated the matter and that there was no trace of her son. They stated that the prisoner statements were very vague, and inferred that her son had been killed in action.
The Army sent a follow up letter on 14 June 1916 stating that death could not be presumed until the finding of a Court of Inquiry is known. That Court convened at Rouen in France on 25 September 1917, and handed down its verdict of "Killed in Action". It
also recorded that the place of burial was unknown.
A photograph of George Sheppard and a photograph of his brother Albert Sheppard was published in the Advertiser (Footscray), 2 September 1916, p.2.
Photographs of Mr and Mrs Sheppard, Sergeant G.H. Sheppard, Corporal Bert Sheppard and Private Harry Sheppard, along with a long article about the family was published under the headline “Fighting Instinct Stirs Sheppard Family”.
[The N.C.O. ranks cannot be confirmed]
Independent (Footscray), September 1916, p.2.
Medals & Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star – Issued
- British War Medal – Issued
- Victory Medal – Issued
- Memorial Plaque – Issued
Mrs Elizabeth Sheppard was granted £1 per fortnight as from 18 March 1916, and that was increased to £2 per fortnight from 28 October 1916.
His name appears on the Werribee Cenotaph as “SHEPHERD, G.H.” [incorrect spelling]
Neither of the other two Sheppard brothers had their names on the Roll of Honor, that was published in the Werribee Shire Banner throughout the war years.
Two brothers (Bertie and George Sheppard) had trees planted in their names in the Footscray Avenue of Honor.
CD - Pioneer Index Victoria 1836 – 1888
CD – Federation Index Victoria 1889 – 1901
CD – Edwardian Index – 1902 - 1913