The Mayor of Barnsley, Cllr Jeff Ennis, accompanied by HM Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire led a special ceremony today Monday 20 November 2017, to mark the centenary of Rifleman Albert Shepherd VC being awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross.
The service took place at the War Memorial outside Barnsley Town Hall with members of Mr Shepherd’s family, representatives and standard bearers from his old regiment - including serving soldiers for The Rifles in attendance. The service include the reading of Mr Shepherd’s citation, his biography and military history, and a short silence of remembrance as Last Post was sounded by Craig Rosser of the Lt Div & Rifles Veteran Bugles Association.
The Victoria Cross Paving Stone was officially unveiled at the War Memorial by Mr Shepherd’s great, great granddaughter in honour of him receiving the highest, most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces one hundred years ago - on 20 November 1917.
The Citation of Rfn Albert Edward Shepherd
On 20th Nov 1917 at Villers Plouich, France, when his company was
held up by a machine gun at point-blank range, Private Shepherd volunteered to rush the gun and although ordered not to, ran forward and threw a Mills bomb killing two gunners and capturing the gun. The company, continuing its advance, came under heavy fire again, this time firing across the line of advance. When the last officer and NCO had become casualties, Private Shepherd took command of the company, ordered the men to lie down. He then went back some 70 yards to get the help of a tank which was used to give cover to their advance.
Albert Edward Shepherd was born in Royston, Near Barnsley in Yorkshire on 11th Jan 1897. He joined the 12th Battalion KRRC and after his heroics he was promoted to corporal and awarded the VC. He survived the War and lived to the age of 69, dying in Royston on 24th Oct 1966.