24-year-old Second Lieutenant Shepherd Stones, known as “Shep”, was killed in action on 3rd November 1916, serving with the 5th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. The youngest of two children, he was born in Sale, Cheshire on 10th October 1892. His father, John Herbert Stones, a paper merchant, died on 2nd July 1893, aged 30, leaving his widow, Elizabeth (née Holmes) with two sons under the age of three. Tragically, both boys would be killed in the war.
Three years after being widowed, Elizabeth Stones married Joseph Edwin Taylor at Altrincham in 1896 and, by 1901, had moved to “Ravenswood”, Homer Road, Solihull with her husband, his children from his previous marriage, and her two sons, Eric (1891-1918) and Shepherd. Joseph Edwin Taylor died in 1914, aged 64.
Shepherd Stones was educated at Mintholme College, Southport, and Rydal Mount School, Colwyn Bay, which was a Methodist boys’ boarding school. By the time of the 1911 census, when he was 18, he had joined the Birmingham Branch of Lloyds Bank and was working as a bank clerk. After the outbreak of war, he volunteered for the Army and joined the 1st Birmingham Pals on their formation in September 1914. He didn’t serve overseas whilst in the ranks, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant with the Northumberland Fusiliers in September 1915.
He first entered a Theatre of War on 13th May 1916. During his time in France he was Reserve Officer for the Lewis Gun Section. The Battalon War Diary records that on the 3rd November 1916, the Battalion was stationed at Cough Drop Trench, Flers, Somme, when at 07.30 hrs that morning, 2nd Lieutenant Stones (‘A’ Coy) was sniped in the head.
He is buried at Bazentin-le-Petit Communal Cemetery Extension and commemorated on a Special Memorial there. He is also commemorated on his father’s gravestone in Brooklands Cemetery, Sale and is included in the North East War Memorials Project. Locally, his name is included on the Solihull war memorial and his mother, Elizabeth, also paid for the restoration of the altar in St Antony’s Chapel, St Alphege Church, Solihull, in remembrance of her only children, Eric and Shepherd Stones.
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