Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Remembering Private John Edmund Shepherd who died aged 19 at Gallipoli

Private Shepherd
This was John Edmund Shepherd who was born in 1896 in Manchester and lived in Moss Side.

He had been a Territorial with the Manchester Regiment and with the outbreak of war in 1914 he was sent with the regiment to Egypt landing at Alexandria on September 25th and in the May of the following year went on to Gallipoli.

The Gallipoli Campaign was seen by some as a way of breaking the deadlock on the Western Front by an assault in the Dardanelles against the Ottoman Empire.

Redoubt Cemetery
This second front if successful would it was hoped draw Bulgaria and Greece into the war on the allied side, stop the Ottoman offensive against Russia and lead to the capture of Constantinople and the exit of the Ottoman Empire from the war.

The campaign began with an allied naval bombardment in February and continued with the landing of British, Empire and French troops in April.

Most historians today view the operation as flawed and shot through with missed opportunities while some argue that it had little chance of success from the outset.

The Manchester's buried at Redoubt Cemetery
The Ottoman forces were prepared for the landing and were not the walk over some had thought and the fighting quickly  settled down to trench warfare with both sides mounting costly attacks which gained little ground.

And it was here that young John Edmund Shepherd died aged just 19 on May 30th.

The Allies had mounted a number of attacks through May and in to July but despite some gains did not achieve the breakthrough that was needed and in December they were withdrawn.

The Lodge
Private Shepherd was buried at the Reboubt Cemetery at Helles along with over 600 other allied war dead drawn from units of the Australian, New Zealand and Indian armies as well as the London Regiment, the East Lancs, the Royal Scots, the Argyll and Sutherlands, the Cameronians and Lancashire Fusiliers.

Of the 602 men who lie there 135 came from the Manchester Regiment.

I doubt that Private Shepherds’s family ever visited the cemetery but they remembered him with the card containing his picture and the flags of the Allies.

And now the card, his medals along with that of his brother's are now on display at the Remembrance Lodge in Southern Cemetery just a short distance from where he grew up in Moss Side.

The Lodge
They form part of the collection of medals and letters collected by David Harrop who who has mounted major exhibitions last year at Southport and Oldham.

The lodge is open from 9am - 4pm seven days a week.

Pictures; from the collection of David Harrop and data drawn from the list of men buried at Reboubt Cemetery from the Commonwealth War Graves, http://www.cwgc.org/

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