Private Harry George Sheppard

Date of Birth c. 1881
Age at Death 36
Date of Death 7 August 1917
Service Number 65543
Military Service 32nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Merton Address 37 Marlborough Road, Colliers Wood
Local Memorial Christ Church, Colliers Wood

Additional Information

Born in August 1881, Harry was the eldest child of George and Louisa Sheppard. He was baptised at Immanual Church, Streatham Common on 28 August 1881. His father George was employed as a General Labourer, and by 1891 the family were living at 2 Gladstone Road, Cromwell Terrace, Mitcham. The census records that 9 year old Harry, and his siblings John, Louisa and Rose were all born in Mitcham. Ten years later, the family had moved to another house in the same road, at 15 Gladstone Road. George, who was now 19, was not recorded at that address on the 1901 census, and presumably was living elsewhere at the time.

In 1906, Harry married Florence Beatrice Walkerdine, who was also born in Mitcham. The 1911 census shows that Harry and his new family were living at 2 Stamford Terrace, Feltham Road, Mitcham. The couple had two children, Lillian Beatrice born in 1907, and Ivy Florence born in 1909. Florence's widowed mother Elizabeth, also lived with the family. Harry's occupation is described as a Gas Company's Collector at the local Gas Works. In the days when people paid for gas by putting pennies in a meter, the Gas Collector would be employed to empty the meter and, if the householders were lucky, any overpayment would be refunded.

On 11 December 1916, Harry enlisted at the Mitcham Recruitment Centre. He joined initially with the Royal Sussex Regiment, but a few days later he seems to have transferred to the 32nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regiment, as a Private. His record states that he was aged 34 years 4 months, stood 5 feet 5 inches tall, and weighed 126 pounds. The family were now living at 37 Marlborough Road, Colliers Wood.

The 32nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers was raised by the Mayor and Borough of East Ham, London in 1915, and after training, the battalion proceeded to the Western Front in May 1915 as part of the 41st Division. During 1917 when Harry was serving with the battalion, he may have seen action at The Battle of Messines 7–14 June 1917, and The Battle of Pilckem Ridge 31 July – 2 August 1917.
Harry was killed in action on 7th August 1917. The Battalion's War Diary for 6 August 1917 places them at Klein Zillebeke, Belgium and the entry for that day reports that gas shells were sent over while the battalion was being relieved. It is possible that Adam was killed or fatally wounded at that time, as the following day's entry shows that the battalion was at rest on the day that Adam died.
“Location: Imperial Trench - 7 August 1917 - "Battalion at rest in camp in the neighbourhood of Elzenwalle Chateau. Day spent in cleaning up and resting. Weather fine and sunny. Open Air concert by Battn. Party."

Harry is "Remembered with Honour" on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium, and locally at Christ Church, Colliers Wood.

Harry's widow Florence continued to live at Marlborough Road at least until 1965. Their daughter Lillian lived with her mother until 1936 when she married William Reeves at Christ Church, Mitcham on 11 April 1936. The marriage was witnessed by her sister Ivy. The Electoral Rolls show that Harry and Florence also had two sons. Harry George was born on 24 June 1913, and he lived with his mother until at least 1937 when he left to marry Hilda Willis. He died aged 85 in July 1998 on the Isle of Wight. His brother Albert (Frederick) Leonard was born 16 June 1915, and he lived at the family home until at least 1939 when records end. He died in 1988 at the age of 73 in Crawley, Sussex.


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