Charles Sheppard

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My great-grandfather's brother, Charles Sheppard

born in 1853 in Chichester, Sussex, England

Pictured above at 20 years old

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Charles Sheppard was born on 26 August 1853, the fifth child of James and Elizabeth Shepherd.   My great-grandfather Alfred was born two years later on 22 August, 1955.  Both brothers would have military careers.
 

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St. Paul's Church, Chichester, Sussex,

where Charles was  baptised on 18 Sep 1853

As a 7 year old school boy, Charles was living with his family at  St. Martins Court,

St. Martin, Chichester, in the county of Sussex, England. 

Charles enlisted with the The King's Shropshire Light Infantry at a young age, as military records show that he was honoured for his service in the Afgan War (1878-80).

In 1882, when he was 29 years old, he married 17 year-old Ellen Mary Fisher in Fullum, London.  Their first child, Cyril Charles was born in Woolwich in 1886.  By 1887 he was posted with his regiment at Curragh Camp in Kildare, Ireland.  This was where their daughter Ivy was born.  Charles and Ellen's next two children were born in Cork, Ireland - they were Nellie, born on 1 March 1991, and Charles Alec born in 1893.

Charles and Ellen Mary (Fisher) Sheppard's  children

right:  Cyril and Nell   left:  Charles and Ivy

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After his service with the British military in Ireland, Charles and his family returned to England and settled in Wem, Shropshire.  There he joined the Wem Company of 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 !"

 

 

 

Charles and Mary Ellen (Fisher) 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 head of the household, 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.  Their eldest son, Cyril, was no longer living with them.

 

We have ascertained that Cyril had followed in his father's footsteps and had started a career in the military.

 

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:

 

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Ex-R.S.M. Steward and Charles Sheppard were the two surviving seniors who “marched out the Old Colours" at The Quarry, Shewsbury, on 25th April, 1935

When the new Colours were presented to the 2nd Battalion KSLI by H.R.H. The Duke of York (Prince Albert, (Albert Frederick Arthur George - soon to be George VI) in 1935, he handed them to RSM Sheppard.  This was indeed a grand occasion and honour for Charles.


Unfortunately, the Curator of the Shropshire Regimental Museum has informed us that there is no photo of that part of the ceremony.

 

An excerpt from The Regimental Journal for 1935 reads :

 

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 marshaled on the Parade Ground, in eight ranks, under the command of Brigader 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. Threagd, 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 flowed by the Old Comrades, with the Band.

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Pictured in 1936 - Charles Sheppard (rt.) with his friend and fellow member of the Old Comrades, ex-R.S.M.  J. Griffiths, mentioned in the Regimental Journal of 1935 above.

Evidence of Charles Sheppard's distinguished career in the military are his medals (Afghan War, 1878-80, Long Service and Good Conduct medal, Meritorious Service medal), named to him. They 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.