Shepherd, Lambert Charles (No. P/JX 223842)

Shepherd, Lambert Charles (Lambert, known to his friends as Bush)

Ordinary Seaman

No. P/JX 223842, HMS Hood, Royal Navy

Killed in action on Saturday 24 May 1941 (aged 30)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, England (Panel 51 Column 2)

HMS Hood Book of Remembrance in St. John the Baptist Parish Church,                   Boldre in Hampshire

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor

BIOGRAPHY

The death of Ordinary Seaman Lambert Charles Shepherd (No. P/JX 223842) was reported in the 31 May 1941 edition of the County Down Spectator under the headline Bangor Man Lost on HMS Hood.

Lambert Charles Shepherd was born on 28 February 1911 in Hale, Cheshire and he was the only son of Major Percy Edward Shepherd, who was born in Romford Essex, and Ella Shepherd (nee Roome), who was born in Birmingham which was then in Warwickshire.  They were married on 3 February 1907.

Major Shepherd worked as a civil engineer for a railway company and the Shepherd family came to Northern Ireland around 1922 when Major Shepherd became Director of Works for the Government of Northern Ireland.  The Shepherd family lived at 21 Knockmore Park, Bangor.

Lambert’s mother Ella died on 24 September 1944 (aged 66).  His father Percy remarried, and Percy died on 2 March 1948 (aged 69).  Sir Percy Shepherd was buried in Bangor Cemetery after a service in Bangor Abbey at which the Rev James Hamilton officiated.

Lambert Charles Shepherd was educated at Oakfield Preparatory School, Rugby; at Shrewsbury School and at Jesus College Cambridge, where he graduated in 1933 with a first-class honours degree in Classics and a second class honours degree in English Literature.  He was an accomplished rower.

In 1934 he joined the staff of the Newsletter newspaper in Belfast, later moving to Allied Newspapers in Manchester and then to the London Daily Mirror and the London Evening Standard.  In June 1939 he married Iris Eunice Henry of Woolaston, Sutton, Surrey and in the same year he joined the London Fire Service as an auxiliary fireman.  In 1940 he was a volunteer member of a ship’s crew that went to Dunkirk to help with the evacuation.

In April 1941 he joined the Royal Navy and was posted to HMS Hood for probationary service prior to sitting his final examinations for commissioned rank.  Nicknamed the Mighty Hood, HMS Hood was an Admiral-class battle cruiser built by John Brown & Company, Clydebank and she was commissioned in May 1920.  On 24 May 1941 HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales were in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland when they intercepted the German warships Prinz Eugen and Bismarck.  HMS Hood was hit by shells fired from both ships, but it was a shell fired from Bismarck which triggered the magazine explosion that destroyed the aft part of the ship.  With her back broken she sank in less than three minutes.  More than 1,410 men lost their lives including Lambert Charles Shepherd and John Gordon Morrison Erskine (Holywood).

Ordinary Seaman Lambert Charles Shepherd (No. P/JX 223842) was 30 when he died, and his wife lived at 16 Unwin Mansions, Queen’s Club Gardens, West Kensington, London.  His effects amounted to some £1,274 and probate was granted to his widow.

In 1944 Iris Eunice Shepherd (nee Henry) married John Cameron and in 1969, at the request of the British Government, her husband – by then Lord Cameron – undertook an inquiry into civil unrest in Northern Ireland.  Lady Cameron was 94 years old when she died on 7 June 2009 in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Ordinary Seaman Lambert Charles Shepherd (No. P/JX 223842) is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial in Hampshire; in the HMS Hood Book of Remembrance in St. John the Baptist Parish Church, Boldre in Hampshire; in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery.

Sir Percy Shepherd established a scholarship (Classics and English Triposes) at Jesus College Cambridge in memory of his son.