Name: Douglas Alexander Mackay Shepherd
DoB: Dec 12 1890
Regt: Rifleman 6029, 16th Battalion London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles)
DoD: September 19 1916
Academic Career: CGS 1901-10; Queen’s College Oxford
Douglas was the sixth of seven sons born to the Canon William Mutrie Shepherd, Vicar of St John’s Carlisle. The older three sons and a daughter were born to the Canon’s first wife, Caroline; Douglas was the son of Mary Elizabeth (Boutflower) the Canon’s second wife. He grew up living at the Vicarage, although by 1911 his home address (following the death of his father) was 170, Warwick Road, Carlisle. Three of his brothers also attended the grammar school, of these two served in the War and survived.
Douglas attended Appleby School under Mr Leach for about a year prior to spending nine years at Carlisle under Mr Williams. Douglas was excellent at sport and was in the school’s Rugby team from 1906-9 ending up as captain. From 1904-10 he was in the cricket team also becoming captain, and was also in the football team from 1908-10 which is why there are so many photos of him! He gained the senior challenge cup in 1910, and the school medal for sport. He was editor of the Carliol magazine and was a member of the debating society. In the debating society he spoke for ” That the press has more power than the pulpit” and that “War is justifiable“. He played Captain Absolute in “The Rivals“, and donated a copy of the adventure story “Lost in the Slave Land” by W. M. Graydon to the school library.
Elected Thomas Exhibitioner in June 1910 to Queens Oxford. In 1912 he matriculated with a fourth class in honour classical moderations and in 1914 a third class in the final honour school of modern history but did not supplicate for a degree.
He joined the University Contingent of the Officers’ Training Corps and enlisted in 1916.
He was only in France for a short time before he was killed in action on the Somme in September near Leuze Wood. This was during the second phase of the Battle of the Somme. On 4 September the Germans had launched a counter-attack on the newly won British position near Mouquet Farm (commonly known as Mucky Farm), but were repulsed by the Australians. There was significant fighting in the area during the following three weeks. On September 10 the 1/16th Londons attacked from Leuze Wood (or Lousy Wood) but had little success as the Germans held the village of Combles and their machine guns were able to hold off the British attack. Eventually a joint Anglo-French assault forced the enemy from Combles on September 25. He is buried at Combles Community Cemetery Ext..
When Douglas went up to Oxford he also played rugby and hockey for his College. His provost reported that Douglas was: “healthy & strong, played cricket and football, didn’t debate much, can sing & play the piano, hopes to be a schoolmaster, lives 4BQ ground back left under Clark’.” After leaving College he became an assistant master at Cranbrook , Kent .
His family had “I will dwell in the House of the Lord Forever” put on his tombstone.
In the Nicoll family archive Douglas is mentioned in some letters
JS Nicoll to JF Nicoll, 15.7.16
‘We are now back in the trenches, but just the reserves… I had a letter from Shepherd the other day. He appears to be having a topping time somewhere near the sea’
‘DAM Shepherd is still at Havre waiting to go in the next draft to the 1st I suppose. he is a L/Cpl’
JS Nicoll to Mary (his younger sister)
‘Shepherd appears to be having quite a decent time out here and talks glibly of bathing in the sea whereas we sometimes don’t get a wash for a week. Of course he is behind the lines, training.’
note on Shepherd in Routledge by JSN
‘Our 1st Batt. Wiped out in hrs, the 2nd Somme Action. Was Oxford’s Full Back but no Univ match 1915’
Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: 1911
c) Liber Vitae Reginensium (Queen’s University of Oxford)
d) Nicoll family archive