M/Sgt Morris W Sheppard, ASN 37164445, from Point Pleasant, Madison Lake Minnesota jumped on D-Day with the 1HHC of the 505th PIR of the American 82nd Airborne Division and was was captured on June 6 (and then escaped and was re-captured several times!! He was to the same stalag that Willen, Stalag 3C Alt Drewitz Brandenburg, Prussia 52-14. Upon transfer to his final PoW camp, he then escaped again & made his way to the advancing Russian lines & ended up in Moscow!
Master Sergeant Morris Sheppard is a bit of an enigma. He signed his name in the shed as “M/Sgt” & in contemporary newspaper articles reporting his capture, PoW status & release he is also referred to in this way. However, his PoW return summary available from the US Military Archives records him as being a Pfc (Private First Class); in addition, after he had passed away, & his family wanted to record his “M/Sgt” rank on his tombstone, the American military would not allow it.
I discussed this in more detail with his son, Jim, and he wonders whether he was “busted” due to “Black Market” activities. Apparently, he always said that he would make a Colonel’s pay (without necesarilly reaching the rank!) and he certainly refers to this in a letter to a comrade captured at the same time once he’d escaped & whilst on leave near Paris before being re-assigned (as many men were) to the 507th PIR
One thing that still annoys me is that when I first saw the names, back in 2003, that I didn’t send of a speculative letter to the address that he wrote by his signature. I’d made the presumption that he’d have moved on or passed away… in 2010 as we were writing to each other in preparation for Morris’ son’s (Jim) & grandson’s (Jesse) visit, Jim challenged me to write to him at this address… the letter got through. Unfortunately, this was too late for Morris as he had passed away in 2004.
Jim, Morris’s son, has kindly provided some further letters & details that add & expand on his father’s experiences…
- Contemporary Newspaper reports
- Letter from Bill Sullivan (who dropped at the same time as M/Sgt Sheppard & was held as a PoW for some of the same time)
- Here are some more photos that Jim sent
In addition, if you want to read about the trip to Normandy that I did in 2010 which included meeting up with Jim & Jesse, then take a look at this blog entry