Private Henry Thomas Shephard

Thank you to Jane Anthony for this research. Thank you to Gillian Sheehan; great-niece of Thomas for the family information.

Henry Thomas Shephard, known as Thomas, was born in Holmbury St Mary, which at that stage was probably part of the parish of Shere.

Gillian Sheehan writes “My mother, born Daisy Shephard, was the niece of Henry Thomas.  Her father, my grandfather Walter Shephard, was Thomas’s older brother. He was only referred to as Thomas in the family, but may well have been baptised Henry after his own grandfather.”

Thomas’ father John was originally a gardener but later became a road man. The address given on both his memorial and the Canadian Government memorial website is Cherry Bank, Holmbury St Mary. It was a large family, 12 children were born, of whom 10 were still living in 1911. Thomas was the fourth of 5 sons and one daughter living at the family home in 1901. His brothers were mostly working as gardeners, in one case a bricklayer. His mother’s name was Lucy.

Thomas must have left for Canada between 1911 and 1914. He must have been one of the first to enlist in the Canadian Army in 1914 on 22 September 1914 His regiment the 4th Battalion Canadian Infantry had only been founded on the 02 September. The battalion, consisting of 44 officers and 1121 other ranks, left Quebec on 23 September arriving in the UK on 14 October. The battalion landed in France on 11 February 1915.

Thomas Shepherd was killed in Action on 24 April 2015 during the Battle of Ypres, and is commemorated on Menin Gate.

Gillian Sheehan tells us that “The family seemed to move around in the Gomshall/Shere/ Holmbury St. Mary area.  My grandfather worked as a ‘boy’ with a family in ColdHarbour and my mother fondly recalled summer holidays when she was a schoolgirl spent with an Aunt Lily in Holmbury.  There did not seem to be any relations left there, however, when I went for hikes in the area with school friends most Saturdays in the 1940s.”

Born                            Holmbury St. Mary
Lived                           Holmbury St. Mary

Son of                         John and Lucy Shephard of Cherry Bank Holmbury St. Mary. Surrey

Regiment                     4th Battalion, Canadian Infantry
Number                       11019

Date of Death              24th April 1915
Place of Death             Belgium
Cause of Death           Killed in Action

Age                             23

Memorial                     Menin Gate Memorial. Ypres.