No. 2010 Corporal Bertie "Bert" Sheppard
[Recorded on Honor Board as Shepherd, B.]
Bertie Sheppard was born at Footscray in 1890 to Henry Joseph Sheppard and Elizabeth Pennell.
The Sheppard's had two other sons who also saw service in the war.
- George H. Sheppard was the eldest (b.1887), and he 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
Before enlisting in the A.I.F. Bert Sheppard worked as a bricklayer. He was interested in sports, and he and his brother George were members of the Footscray Rowing Club and the Braybrook Football Club.
Bert Sheppard enlisted in the A.I.F. on 18 January 1915 at Melbourne, and went to the Broadmeadows Camp for training. While there he was appointed to the 5th Reinforcements / 8th Battalion. Promotion came quick, and he was promoted to Corporal on 16 March 1915, whilst still in Australia. The 8th Infantry Battalion (1 to 6 Reinforcements) embarked from Melbourne per H.M.A.T. A20 Hororata on the 17 April 1915, bound for Egypt. Bert joined "A" Company of the 8th Battalion from the 5th Reinforcements on 9 June 1915, at Anzac. He remained at Anzac for two months, until he was given leave.
Bert Sheppard wrote a letter to his parents on 18 September 1915 from the Island of Lemnos, which was published in the local press. In it he recounts how he had just completed two months in the trenches at Gallipoli, without relief. He lists all the local boys that he had met at the front, and how much the conditions had improved while they were having a break from the fighting at Lemnos. He enjoyed the chocolate and watermelon that they now had access to.
Independent (Footscray), 6 November 1915, p.2.
Not long after returning to the Gallipoli Campaign, Bert was evacuated from the peninsula and sent to No 2 Australian Stationary Hospital at Mudros. There he was admitted on 19 September 1915, suffering from diarrhoea. Needing further treatment, he was transferred to hospital ship Aquitania on 18 October 1915, and embarked for England on 21 October 1915. Bert was admitted to the No 2 Southern General Hospital, Bristol, England, on 27 October 1915.
Because of his absence from the front, the 8th Battalion placed his name on the Lemnos Supernumerary List, on 27 December 1915.
On making a recovery, Bert Sheppard re-joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Weymouth on the 22 February 1916. He then embarked from Devonport in England for Alexandria per H.T. Kingstonian, and arrived in Egypt on 5 March 1916. On the 11 March 1916 he re-joined the 8th Battalion at Serapeum.
The 8th Battalion embarked per Magnetic from Alexandria on 26 March 1916, to join the British Expeditionary Force in France. They disembarked at Marseilles on 31 March 1916, and went to the Moussot Base Depot nearby. He remained at the depot until the 15 July 1916 when he left to re-joined his unit.
He was taken back on strength by the 8th Battalion on the 22 July 1916, and three days later, was killed in action on the 25 July 1916. He was buried in the vicinity of Pozieres, north of Albert, off the Bapaume Road. His body was re-interred in the Villers Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Plot 19, Row "AA", grave 5. The cemetery is 2½ miles SSW of Corbie, France.
Quotes from a letter to his parents are in the Independent (Footscray), 10 June 1916, p.3.
A photo of Corporal Bert Sheppard and an article on the family was published in the local press.
Independent (Footscray), 2 September 1916, p.2.
The family placed two death notices (with verses) in the local press. The family were: Henry and Elizabeth Sheppard, Cpl George H. (missing), Private Harry (France), Mrs R. Gough, Mary, Lizzie, Ruth, Myrtle (deceased).
Independent (Footscray), 2 September 1916, p.2.
Mrs Sheppard placed an In Memoriam notice on behalf of the family. The family were:- Corporal George (missing), Corporal Henry, May Mary, Lizzie, Ruth, Myrtle (deceased), Olive. Their mother also included the following verse:-
I remember the days of their childhood.
I was happy when they played by my side.
On Footscray's roll of honor.
You will find their names inscribed.
Independent (Footscray), 28 July 1917, p.2.
Medals & Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star - Issued 18 October 1920
- British War Medal - Issued October 1922
- Victory Medal - Issued October 1922
- Memorial Plaque - Issued 11 January 1922
Both brothers (Bertie and George Sheppard) had plaques in the Footscray Memorial Avenue.
Werribee Cenotaph entry is "SHEPHERD, B."
Werribee R.S.L. Honor Board is "Shepherd, B."
Neither of the two Sheppard brothers had their names on the Roll of Honor that was published in the Werribee Shire Banner throughout the war years.
CD - Pioneer Index Victoria 1836 – 1888
CD – Federation Index Victoria 1889 – 1901
CD – Edwardian Index – 1902 - 1913