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Robert Shepherd

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Derry House Cemetery No.2. Ypres Salient. Flanders
Derry House Cemetery No.2. Authors image

S/22878 Private

Gordon Highlanders transferred to 2/14th London Regiment (London Scottish), 90th Infantry Brigade, 30th Division

Age: U/K

Date of Death: 15.10.18

Buried: Derry House Cemetery No.2

Family history: U/K

His medal index card records that he was initially recruited to the Royal Army Medical Corps and then transferred to the Gordon Highlanders. He died serving in the 2/14th London Regiment (London Scottish).

The action leading to his death

The Battalion, as part of 30th Division, were involved in the Fourth Battle of Ypres and the British Second Army liberation offensive in Flanders in 1918. Between the 14 to 19 October, the British were attacking in the ‘Breakout: the Battle of Courtrai’ and the battalions were largely made up of conscripts and transferees. At zero hour of 0535 on 14 October, the British launched their offensive, this was on the back of an order issued by Field Marshal Haig on 7 October making it clear that nothing was to divert the attention of the British forces away from the defeat of Germans in the field.

X Corps, which comprised the 30th and 34th Divisions, was on the southern end of the attack, with Menin as its objective. For 30th Division, 21 Brigade, on the right flank, and 90 Infantry Brigade, on the left flank, lead off the attack. The covering barrage began at 0531 with the attack beginning four minutes later. The Battalion War Diary records:

In addition to the main barrage a smoke barrage was also put down and this helped the attackers take the enemy by surprise. The War diary:

The Battalion advance met with a considerable amount of machine gun fire from defended pill boxes. The leading companies pushed on and the support company dealt with the pill boxes not already taken care of.

The objectives were taken by 0735 and consolidation commenced. The War Diary recorded that casualties were approximately 20% of the attacking and support companies with two officers wounded, 16 Other Ranks killed and 43 wounded. There were 220 prisoners taken and a large number of the enemy killed.

Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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