T/o Warboys. Shot down by a night fighter (Hptm Wolfgang Thimmig, III./NJG1) and crashed 2325 onto the Laurenz Textile Factory at Epe, 4 km S of Gronau, Germany. All were buried in the Evangelical Freidhof at Rheine, but they now rest in the Reichswald Forest Cemetery.
Article below from http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/features/3567985.Keeping_the_memory_alive_of_one_of_the_RAF_s_top_guns/
AT 20.26hrs on August 27, 1942, a Vickers Wellington Mk III hurtled down the runway at RAF Warboys in Cambridgeshire, pointed its blunt nose into the night sky and headed off to attack the Fiesler aircraft factory in Kassel, Germany.
On board, young Fred Shepherd from St Johnís, Worcester, settled into the tail gunnerís seat and checked again his two 7.7mm machine guns. It was a routine he had carried out many times before, because although only 22 years old, Fred was one of the RAFís top guns.
A sergeant, highly skilled and experienced despite his comparative youth, he had taken part in three of the Alliesí thousand bomber raidsĒ on Cologne, Essen and Bremen earlier in the year and survived a fire on board his aircraft returning from Warnemaunde.
This was to be his 13th mission with the recently formed 156 Squadron of Bomber Command, but he was unlikely to have been superstitious.
However, the night of August 27 did not promise well for bombers.
Clear and moonlit, conditions were ideal for the German defenders, particularly the Messerschmitts of Nachtjadgeschwader 1, the home sideís crack nightfighter unit and no British airman was under any illusions about what was coming.
As a member of the elite Pathfinder Force (motto: We light the way), Fredís Wellington was one of 30 going ahead to mark the target for the main bomb carriers, a job that put them seriously in harmís way as they met the full force of the enemy welcome.
The Pathfinders gained height over the Southwold sector of East Anglia and flew across the southern North Sea to Edam in Holland, where they turned south east, passing south of Munster, before approaching Kassel. Where all Hell let loose.
Given free rein by the clear weather, the Messerschmitts swooped and a BF110 nightfighter piloted by German ace Hauptmann Wolfgang Thimming locked on to the Wellington carrying Fred and his five fellow crewmen.
A burst of fire raked the Pathfinder and sent it spinning from the sky. It crashed on to the Laurenz textile factory at Epe, four miles south of Gronau, killing everyone on board. The time was 23.25 on August 27, 1942.
Fast forward 46 years to 1988 and Paul Smith is serving with the RAF in Germany. The son of Fred Shepherdís great Worcester boyhood pal Arthur Smith, Paul decided to spend a leave visiting the Arnhem battlefields in Holland.
While travelling near Kleve, Worcesterís twin town, I happened to spot a sign for the Reichwald Forest War Cemetery,Ē he said. My father had often talked about Fred, so I decided to see if he was buried there.
I knew that he had originally been buried at the Evangelical Friedhof at Rheine, but later all British Forces graves were relocated in Commonwealth War Cemeteries.
After about half-an-hour looking around the Reichwald Forest cemetery, I found Fredís grave. I took a photograph of it and signed the visitorsí book. When I returned to Worcester, I visited Fredís sister, who then still lived in St Johnís. I entered the house thinking she might want to forget about what had happened to her brother, as it was all a long time ago.
But to my surprise there was a huge photograph of Fred hanging over the fireside. I gave her a copy of the photograph of the grave and she was really overwhelmed that somebody had actually gone to visit Fred.
I told her all I knew about what happened to him and over the next few years I carried on visiting her.
Sadly she died five years ago.
And that might have been the end of the story, Except it isnít. Paul Smith, who lives in Thames Close, Worcester, and has served for 24 years in the RAF, both as a regular and reservist, is determined that Fred Shepherd is one son of Worcester who will never be forgotten.
He has researched as much as he can about Fredís life and death and every Remembrance Sunday places a cross with Fredís name on at the war memorial outside Worcester Cathedral. Last year he placed a framed photograph. It suffered weather damage over the winter and so on August 27, the 66th anniversary of Fredís death, Paul is renewing it. He says: ďFred was only one of more than 55,000 brave men killed with RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War, but by keeping his memory alive I hope people never forget the sacrifice they all made.
Thereís a postscript to that summer night in 1942. Hauptmann Wolfgang Thimming, the Nachtjadgeschwader commander who shot down Fred Shepherdís Wellington, went on to become a highly decorated nightfighter ace with 24 allied aircraft to his name.
He was twice awarded the Iron Cross and received other wartime honours. After the war he served as a West German diplomat in Sweden, where he died in 1976 having received the Svardsorden, a Swedish order of honour, a rare occurrence for a foreigner.
An RAF report on the Fiesler raid reported that 306 aircraft set off, of which 222 attacked the target, which was ďseverely damagedĒ.
The Germans claimed to have shot down 35 aircraft, while Bomber Command admitted to 30 losses with another 40-plus aircraft damaged by enemy aircraft or flak.
Conditions over the target were described as *pretty rough*.