Albert was 'one of the bravest men'

ALBERT Shepherd was described by some as "one of the bravest men in the first World War".

Born in Royston on January 11 1897, he worked briefly as a pony driver in the local colliery before joining the 12th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps.

He fought at the Somme and Passchendaele was wounded once and gassed twice.

Albert was just 19 when he was awarded the highest military decoration for valour in the face of the enemy to members of the armed forces "for most conspicuous bravery".

He won the Victoria Cross for action at Villers-Plouich, France on November 20, 1917, during the Battle of Cambrai.

When his company was held up by a machine-gun, Albert volunteered to rush the gun and, although ordered not to, went forward and threw a Mills bomb, killing two gunners and capturing the gun.

The company, on continuing its advance, came under heavy machine-gun fire. When the last officer and the last non-commissioned officer had become casualties, Albert took command of the company.

He ordered the men to lie down, and then he went back 70 yards under severe fire to obtain the help of a tank.

He then returned to his company, and finally led them to their last objective. His citation says he "showed throughout conspicuous determination and resource".

After the war, Albert returned to Royston, resuming work at the pit. He married Gladys and had two children. His daughter Mildred died in 1944 aged five, but his son Ken still lives in Royston.

Albert died at his home on October 23 1966.

His VC medal is on display at the Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester, Hampshire.

The plaque in his memory is on Royston war memorial which was one of the first war memorials erected in the UK.

Funded by public donations the memorial was unveiled by Right Hon Viscount Galway in early August 1918, three months before the Armistice was signed ending the first World War.


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