18 May 1945
A cloud was cast over the victory celebrations in Stornoway at the weekend when it became known that young John Hepburn, who was taken prisoner with the Ross Battery at St Valery had died in Germany. Until Saturday it had confidently been hoped that John would return in due course with the other prisoners but a telegram from his father, now resident in Edinburgh, to his brother with the RAF in Lewis brought the sad news that a returned prisoner of war reported that John had died. No further details were given in the telegram.
At the thanksgiving service in Martin's Memorial on Sunday, Rev Ian Carmichael referred to Hepburn's death, one of the congregation, and the son of a former office bearer. "Last night I was called upon to perform one of the hardest tasks I have ever had to perform as a minister", he said. "Our boys, who have been prisoners of war, have been returning home. There are some of them here today, and we extend a most hearty welcome to them. We know how parents and loved ones have been waiting day after day for word, and when it arrives they rejoice. But there was one, the wife of John Hepburn, waiting like the other, afraid to move from the house in case she might miss her husband on his return. Word came last night that John is dead. The manner of his death we know not, but it was my sad duty to break the news to his wife and to his only child, A child who never saw her father in life, and who never will. The father himself never saw his child. John Hepburn is gone, having fulfilled his duty to the end and having paid the greatest price for his services to his fellow country-men".
Hepburn, who was a steady, well-doing lad, was married in the early months of the war to Margaret Kemble, 9 Holm. He went to France with the Ross Battery and, as stated, was taken prisoner at St valery.