He was the son of Edward Alexander Shepherd and his wife, Alice Jessie Shepherd and was born in Broughty Ferry, Dundee. His father was killed on 3 September 1916 whilst serving as a Captain in the Black Watch. His name is on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 10A.

EDA’s paternal grandfather was co-owner of Thomson, Shepherd & Co Ltd. founded in 1848 by David Thomson, a shipmaster's son who had served an apprenticeship with James Neish, a jute pioneer. He set up in business on his own in a small hand-spinning and handloom weaving shed. The firm was soon operating, successfully, and in 1852, David Thomson was granted a patent from Queen Victoria in respect of jute carpeting. Three years later he won a diploma for jute carpets at the Paris Exhibition.

In 1858 David Thomson died aged 32, and the firm was taken over by his younger brother. About 1860, Walter Shepherd bought a share in the company. Output of jute products soared in the early 1860s and by 1864 their Seafield Works contained 6,000 spindles, 120 power looms and upwards of 450 hand looms, and was employing 2,000 people. The partnership was formed into a limited company in 1896, and during the first half of the 20th century emphasis changed from weaving to spinning.

EDA’s uncle, Godfrey Daniel Bower Shepherd, who was born in Dundee in 1874, was an architect whose practice, Mills & Shepherd, designed very stylish arts-and-crafts houses. They came to the notice of Queen Mary and were commissioned to carry out a considerable amount of garden and estate work at Balmoral.

EDA and his mother lived at Brae Cottage [now a listed building} in Broughty Ferry. He was educated at Glenalmond and Matriculated in 1930. He had spent time in Canada in 1929, returning to Southampton from Quebec on 12 September. He got a Half-blue for Fencing and graduated in 1934 with a 3rd in French and German.

He taught English in Germany in 1935-36 and then worked as a journalist and photographer.

On 2 November 1940, he was gazetted as an acting Pilot Officer on probation. His rank was confirmed on 6 May, the following year.

Early in 1943, he married Sheila Christina Whysall in the Marylebone area.

He was serving with 29 Squadron based at Ford and was on night patrol in a de Havilland Mosquito NF Mk X11 registration HK161 when the plane went missing over the English Channel. His observer was F/Sgt William John Henry Menlove.

He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 121.