Douglas Clayton Shepley was born on the 14th July 1918, in Carlton-in-lindrick. He moved to Woodthorpe Hall, Holmesfield which his father Jack brought when Douglas was eight years old. He was the youngest of five brothers and one sister. One of his brothers died at an early age. He attended Oundle school from September 1931-1935, when he left to join his fathers business. In 1938 Douglas followed his elder brother George Rex Shepley into the R.A.F. He entered R.A.F college Cranwell as a flight cadet and received his commission in late 1939. He was posted to 152 squadron when they were reforming at R.A.F Acklington.
D. Shepley

The squadron received their first spitfire mk1’s in December, and were operational by early 1940. They flew south to R.A.F Warmwell near Weymouth in Dorset with the main task of protecting the important navel base at Portland. Douglas was married on the 29th June 1940 at St Johns church in Sidcup Kent to a young nurse Frances.


He claimed two confirmed victories both Me 109’s , dispatched on the 8th and the 11th of August 1940. The following day P/O Douglas Shepley and F/L Latham Withall were reported missing after a sortie off the Isle of Wight. Douglas was flying spitfire K9999, and Latham spitfire P9456. Both pilots were lost at sea. P/O Douglas Clayton Shepley is remembered on the Runnymede memorial, panel number 10, and F/L Latham Carr Withall, panel number 5.
UM-S 152 Sqn

After Douglas’ death his mother Emily and his widow Frances started raising money to buy a spitfire for the R.A.F. They both worked energetically towards their target and with help of the citizens of North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, who organised a variety of fund raising events such as dances, concerts, jumble sales and house to house collections, also collections in public houses, theatres,and cinemas. And from the Sheffied A.R.P who gathered donations from all thier local posts. After 15 weeks of hard work, Emily and Frances found that they had achieved their target of 5,700 pounds.

Spitfire W3649 was selected for the family, and the name SHEPLEY was placed on the panel below the cockpit. Spitfire W3649 was a mk Vb and was issued to 602 squadron on the 16th August 1941, just over a year after the death of Douglas. W3649 also served with 303 (Polish) squadron before ending up with 485 (New Zealand) squadron, and became the personal aircraft of Group Captain Victor Beamish, D.S.O, D.F.C, and carried the code FV-B. He was reported missing on the 28th March 1942 over the channel.


This story doesn’t end there. A Nottingham brewery in 1979 decided to build a new public house in Mickley Lane, Totley, Sheffield. And incidentally alongside an unmade road which leads direct to Woodthorpe Hall. A sponsored competition was held among the locals to come up with an appropriate name. I belive Seymour Shepley, the only surviving brother contacted the brewery and put forward the proposal SHEPLEY SPITFIRE, and in the winter of 1979 Seymour was invited to draw the first pint.

  Many Thanks to Mr Richard Shepley and family for the pictures

Old Oundelians HONOURED
Old Oundelians  Plaque 3

5th November 2011

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Shepley sign4

  Many Thanks to Joanne Bond Landlady of The Shepley Spitfire for the pictures above.Updated 17.03.2011

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