Harold SHEPPARD
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 28606
Unit: 11th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 27 September 1918
Age: 21
Cemetery: Sains-les-Marquion British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Very little is known about Harold's pre-War life, other than his parents were Harry and Fanny Sheppard of 73 Borron Street, Portwood, Stockport. He enlisted into the army at Manchester, almost certainly during 1915 and will have joined the Battalion in France, when it was assigned there after a period in Egypt.

The action in which Harold was killed was the opening day of what would later be officially designated as the Battle of the Canal du Nord. It was one of the most significant engagements of the closing stages of the War which led to the breaching of the main German defensive system known as the Hindenberg Line.

The 11th Manchesters were to act in support of Canadian infantry, following behind them and mopping up any pockets of resistance. The advance started on schedule just after 9am and news soon came that the Germans were still occupying parts of the village of Sains les Marquoin and also had machine guns in the nearby Keith Wood. "S" Company was despatched to cross the canal south of the village, work round to the north and root out the Germans. The troops in Keith Wood were also dealt with and then battalion then continued its advance. The Canadians had been held up but the arriving Manchesters helped to capture the objective after some fierce fighting. Casualties so far had been relatively light and the troops halted here for about 40 minutes to regroup.

The Battalion's War Diary notes that an enemy "gun team pulled out a field gun on to the road...and attempted to fire over open sights. They were engaged with a Lewis gun and one platoon was sent to capture them. Only one round was fired. The team bolted and the gun was captured." The Battalion then resumed its advance up slopes towards Cauchicourt Farm. As they crossed over the ridge they came under heavy machine gun fire and this is when the major of casualties occurred.  "We advanced in short rushes along the high ground and eventually succeeded in capturing the machine gun nest which had been giving us considerable trouble." As the advance continued to its final objective at Oisy le Verger, one company met considerable opposition before driving the enemy back. 7 officers, including Henry Whitworth, and 126 other ranks had become casualties (although not all fatal).

   
           
   
     
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