Charles Sheppard, born abt. 1853 in Chichester, Sussex, England
Pictured here at 88 years old in Wem, Shropshire, England
CHARLES & MARY ELLEN
Having grown up in Chichester, Charles Sheppard took as his bride a girl from Frating, Essex, England. She was Mary Ellen Fisher. The couple was married in Fulham, London in February of 1882.
Prior to his marriage, Charles had joined the Shropshire 85th King's Light Infantry (which became the 2nd KSLI in 1881) when he was 20 years old. He served from 1873-1905, during which time he had been in active duty in the Afghan War, 1878-80.
Charles and Mary Ellen Sheppard became parents of four children. Their eldest child was a son, Cyril Charles, born in Woolwich in 1886. They were living in Ireland when their second child was born. She was Ivy Enid Sheppard, born in an army camp - Curragh Camp, Kildare, Ireland in 1888. Her sister, Nell Sheppard, was born in Cork, Ireland in 1891, and their youngest brother Charles Alec was born at Youghal, a coastal town in Cork, Ireland.
The children of Charles and Mary Ellen Sheppard
left: Charles and Ivy, right: Cyril and Nell
Charles and Mary Ellen Sheppard lived with their family at 68 Aston Street, Wem, Shropshire.
In 1911, Charles was 58 years old and had already been discharged from the military, as he was described in the Census of that year as an army pensioner and coal merchant. His 18 year old son Charles Alec worked with him in the coal business. Both of the daughters, Ivy and Nellie, then 23 and 20 respectively, were unmarried and lived with them in the family home. Ivy was an elementary school teacher, Nell was described as a 'domestic' - she took care of the home, and their eldest son, Cyril, was no longer living with them.
We have ascertained that he had followed in his father's footsteps and had started a career in the military.
Charles and his family moved back to England and settled in Wem, Shropshire. He joined the Shropshire Rifle Volunteers.
The Curator of the Shropshire Regimental Museum sent us the following photo, with a note:
"I attach a photo of the Wem Company of the Shropshire Rifle Volunteers in the late 1890s. This photo contains Sheppard on the front row - though we are not quite sure which one he is.
The man in front, second from right is Lieut. Corke; we THINK the man to his right (as viewed) is the Regimental Sergt Major and we THINK the man to his left (as viewed) is Sergt. Major Sheppard.
All three sergeants wear the Afghan medal.
Which ever of those three he is - one of the three IS him !"
Sergt. Charles Sheppard had quite a distinguished career in the military, and his medals (Afghan War, 1878-80, Long Service and Good Conduct medal, Meritorious Service medal), named to him, are on display in the Shropshire Regimental Museum at Shewsbury Castle. His NCOs peaked forage cap of c. 1890 is also on display. We have been informed by the curator of the museum that these items had been donated to the collection as long ago as 1961.
In 1935, Charles was honoured to receive this prestigious invitation to an event that would no doubt be the crowning highlight of his life in the military for the eighty-two year old veteran and his family:
The Commanding Officer, in his reply, on behalf of the Battalion, spoke as follows : "I thank Your Royal Highness for coming here to-day to present these Colours and also for the kind remarks you have made. You may assure His Majesty that the honour of the Colours will be fully upheld by all ranks and that the spirit of the Regiment is as proud to-day as it has ever been and should the occasion arise that this Battalion should be called upon to serve, the young soldiers you see here now wiU acquit themselves as nobly as the veterans to whom we owe the Honours already inscribed on our Colours."
The New Colours were then accorded a Royal Salute as they were marched back to their position, in slow time, to the National Anthem, and the Battalion, having reformed line, marched past H.R.H., the band playing the Regimental Quick March, "The Daughter of the Regiment." The Presentation Ceremony then concluded with the Advance in Review Order, followed by three hearty cheers for H.R.H.
Two thousand Old Comrades of the Regiment were next marshalled on the Parade Ground, in eight ranks, under the command of Brigad^^r R. J. Bridgford, and H.R.H. made a tour of inspection and presented the Meritorious Service Medal to ex-R.S.M. I. Stewart. The Old Comrades were turned about to face the Battalion and the Old Colours were handed over to ex-R.S.M. C. Sheppard, ex-R.S.M. I. Stewart and Ex-Colour Sgt. E. Logan, all of whom were on parade when they were presented in 1877, who in turn gave them to ex.-R.S.M's. J. Evans, M.C., W. Griffiths, D.C.M., J. Threadgdd, D.C.M., G. Moore, M.C., J. Griffiths and F. Thompson, who were to escort them to the Depot Barracks. The Battlion, headed by the Bugles, left the Parade Ground fllowed by the Old Comrades, with the Band.
This was indeed a grand occasion and honour for Charles, as when new Colours were presented to the 2nd Battalion KSLI by H..R.H. The Duke of York (Prince George - soon to be George VI) in 1935, he handed them to RSM Sheppard.
Unfortunately, the Curator of the Shropshire Regimental Museum has informed us that there is no photo of that part of the cermemony.
An exerpt fromThe Regimental Journal for 1935 reads :