To the Dardanelles on his birthday

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Frederick John Sheppee alias
Frederick Johnson (Emanuel 1885–88)

Frederick Sheppee was one of the earliest pupils at Emanuel School when it moved to Wandsworth Common in the early 1880s. Born in 1873 he later became a labourer and when war broke out in 1914 he was in New Zealand and tried to enlist at the age of 41 but was refused because he was over age. He returned to Australia and enlisted in New South Wales giving the name Frederick Johnson and age 36. He became Private 1371, “C” Company, 2nd Battalion 1st Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Forces. He left for Egypt with the second reinforcements and was part of the first landing at the Dardanelles on 25 April 1915 which was also his birthday. He was wounded in the thigh. He spent time recovering from his wound in a hospital in Egypt but returned to duty and was killed in Gallipoli between 7 and 14 August 1915 aged 42. He is commemorated on the Lone Pine memorial.

Frederick was not included on Emanuel’s original First World War memorial but in November 2014 his name was included on 5 new memorial boards to commemorate those Old Emanuels who lost their lives in the War but who were unknown to the School at the time.

New Memorial Board 2014

If you have any further information about Frederick or maybe you are a relative we would like to hear from you so we can complete our story of Frederick.

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‘The Great Trek’ – one man’s journey to retrace his uncle’s footsteps

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Douglas Finlay DFC 103 Squadron Bomber Command.

In The Telegraph Magazine (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/11558345/The-Long-March-retracing-the-footsteps-of-10000-World-War-Two-PoWs.html) on Saturday 25 April 2015, photographer James Finlay is interviewed about his new project which finds him retracing his uncle’s footsteps during the winter of 1945 when thousands of Allied POWs were forced to march west by their German captors as the Soviet forces pushed forward into Germany. James’s uncle Douglas Finlay was Captain of Emanuel School in 1940.

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Douglas Finlay in Emanuel OTC uniform 1938.

He served in 103 Squadron Bomber Command and was awarded the DFC. Douglas was made a POW after his aircraft was shot down over Germany in September 1943.

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A map from Douglas’s POW Log Book showing where he and fellow POWs landed after either being shot down or crashing in Nazi occupied Europe.

He was imprisoned in Stalag Luft-III, the famous ‘Great Escape’ camp until 27 January 1945 when he, with 10,000 fellow POWs were forced to march west during a bitterly cold winter.  His story is retold in Emanuel School at War: The Greatest Scrum That Ever Was pp. 499-505 (available to buy from Emanuel School, Troubador or Amazon for £30) James is photographing what is left of the route the POWs followed.

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Douglas Finlay (first from right) in room 6 Block 123, Stalag Luft-III.