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Tributes paid to popular war veteran

Cliff Shepherd who has died
Cliff Shepherd who has died

Tributes have been paid to a former war veteran who has died aged 104.

Cliff Shepherd was a well known character in Stamford and many people knew his stories from the Second World War.

He celebrated his 104th birthday in July but he died on September 27.

His daughter Thelma Handford, of Uffington, said: “He was a very much loved character.

“Everyone in the town knew him and his stories.

“He was very sociable and people admired his achievements.

“He was determined right up to the end.”

Cliff was born on July 2, 1913 in the Yorkshire village of Laycock.

He left school and and at 14 he began to work as a flour boy bagging up flour for the Leeds Co-op, in Otley.

He later moved to the butchery department at the Burley branch in Wharfedale.

While there he delivered meat to customers using his bike.

Cliff used to see Edith Hutton walk past the shop each day heading to work at Burley Mill.

He asked her out and they married in 1937 at Victoria Road Methodist Church, in Burley in Wharfedale.

They rode a tandem to Southport for their honeymoon.

Daughter Thelma arrived in November 1938.

Then Cliff was called up to train as a ground gunner in the RAF Regiment in 1940.

During the course of the war he served in France and Germany and rose to become a warrant officer.

When his unit shot down five German planes in one day he was mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the bronze oak lead medal.

He accidentally shot a sheep while on night patrol as a raw recruit.

Fearing the worst he was praised for being so alert.

After the war he worked as a branch manager at the Co-op, was a bus driver and then an inspector in Leeds and an ambulance driver in Yorkshire during which time he helped delivered six babies.

He also became a Divisional Superintendant in the St John Ambulance Brigade.

On retirement aged 65 he and Edith carvanned all over the country.

They followed Thelma to the Stamford area in 1998 and Edith died in 2007 having spent time at Priory Court Care Home.

He was also a member of Trinity Methodist Church, Barn Hill, and attended the Remembrance Day service at the centotaph in Stamford each year.

Until last year Cliff was also part of the team which sold Poppies in Stamford for the Armistice event.

Cliff had two granchildren Alison and Garry plus five great grandchildren and three great, great grandchildren.

The eldest great-grandson Alex Clifford Wells has followed Cliff into the military as he is with the RAF.

Cliff’s funeral is on Thursday (October 19) at the Trinity Methodist Church, Barn Hill, at 1.30pm.


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