Lt. Edwin Charles Shepherd
St. Mark's Anglican Cemetery
The following details taken in full from Marc Leroux's excellent website 'Canadian Great War Project', with permission and thanks:
Edwin was born in the old city of Toronto on November 11th, 1879, to Police Magistrate Edwin H. Shepherd and Mrs. Shepherd. There are little facts we know today about Edwin's family and pre-war life, except that his parents moved to Niagra-On-The-Lake Ontario sometime before the war.
Edwin married Ellen Gertrude, and they lived 123 Jane St. in North Bay area of northern Ontario. Together they had two boys, Edwin Harry, and Jack Richardson. He worked with the railway, developing many specialties over the years: lumbering, engineering, railway construction, supply officer-location work, and machinist with the CPR [Canadian Pacific Railroad].
He is shown as serving five years in the 23rd Regiment of the Canadian Militia, and later the 97th Regiment.
Edwin Shepherd presented himself at the recruitment office of the 159th Battalion (1st Algonquin's), at North Bay on March 10th, 1916, and was attested immediately as an Officer in the rank of Lieutenant, presumably because of his prior Militia service history. He was recorded as being 5 feet 6½ inches tall, with a 'good' physical development.
Promoted to the rank of Major on May 30th, 1916, in the 159th Battalion while serving at Niagara Camp Ontario, Edwin sailed for England on October 31st, 1916, and arrived on November 11th, 1916. The 'Overseas Military Forces of Canada' Headquarters, Canadian Training Division at Shorncliffe Camp, England, was keen on having Shepherd join the Canadian Railway Troops, based on his extensive history in this area. Shepherd was desperate to serve in a 'line' regiment, and wrote many letters to protest the posting. He finally forfeited his rank of Major, and offered to revert to the junior rank of Lieutenant in order the go quickly to the front in a line regiment.
Edwin must have been pleased with the following routine order of April 22th, 1917: '…The marginally noted officer who was posted a reinforcement to the 4th CMR 22-4-17 under authority of the War Office…and will be shown in the rank of Lieutenant.'
He left to join the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles in the field, joining them at Arras on April 26th, 1917.
Edwin Shepherd was killed in action, a mere five months to the day of arriving in France. Official reports describe: 'Killed by a snipers bullet when leading his Platoon in the attack on Bellevue Spur, near Passchendale on the morning of October 26, 1917.'
The 4th CMR Regimental History fills in some of the blanks: '…On the left the conditions were similar. 'C' Company struggled against a most grueling opposition, pushing forward until the effectiveness of the force was reduced by casualties. All the officers were hit; Lieut. V. Eaton and Lieut. Shepherd were killed…'. Edwin Shepherd was 38 years of age.
Sadly Lieut. Edwin Shepherd got what he wished for; a place in a fighting regiment, right in the thick of it.
He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing [Panel 30], Ieper, Belgium.
Represented by David Bluestein.
Headstone image courtesy of Larry Clark.
Biography details, Marc Leroux's the 'Canadian Great War Project' website.
Biography page courtesy of 4cmr.com