Born on the 1st October 1888 Arthur “Len” Shepard was the 3rd of 6 children for Henry and Annie (nee Hope).
Len’s early years included attendance at South Hillend School where his father taught until 1901. The family then relocated to Wendonside. Prior to the outbreak of war Len trained in the jewellery and watchmaking trade in Gore.
Len was 27 years old when he enlisted and commenced war service on the 23rd August 1915 as a Private in D Company 8th Reinforcements. Len continued his war service until the conclusion of The Great War and achieved promotion to the rank of Corporal during that time. Len was discharged from service on the 21st August 1919 having served 3 years and 364 days.
May, to whom most of Len’s letters are addressed, is his youngest sister Alice May Hope Shepard.
After completing service Len eventually went on to have a jewellery and watchmaking business in Balclutha. In 1923 Len married Elsie May Shand. They went on to have two daughters together, Betty [Mrs. Callanan] and Lenore [Mrs. Mathieson].
Len had a particular interest in horticulture, amenity planting and flower shows as an exhibitor and judge. As you will read throughout his letters, Len had a keen interest in photography as well. Len became a member of the Clutha RSA Executive, Methodist Church, Caledonian Society and the Balclutha Borough Council. As a volunteer for St. John Len was a familiar figure in his black uniform answering the call for “the Zam-Buk” on the sideline of the rugby field.
Len died on the 13th April 1979 and is buried in the Lawn Cemetery in Balcultha.
You can view Len’s service record here SHEPARD, Arthur Leonard – WWI 8/3400 – Army