Lieutenant Herbert Shaw


Herbert Shaw was born on 30 August 1891 at South Shields, Durham, the first of two children of English-born journalist John Shaw and his Scottish-born wife Euphemia (nee Brown). Around 1900 the family moved to Belfast. Herbert was educated at the Belfast Mercantile College. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and sister 10 Windermere Gardens, Belfast, and working as an apprentice linen goods designer. Soon after this he emigrated to America where he took up a "lucrative position" in New York.

On the outbreak of war Shaw returned to Ireland to 'join up'. He enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 2 October 1914 (No.1250). Promoted to lance corporal on 9 February and corporal on 1 June 1915, he embarked for France with F Squadron on 17 November that year.

On 29 December 1916 Shaw applied for a commission in the infantry, with a preference for the Gordon Highlanders. His application was supported by references from the Lord Mayor of Belfast and the editor of the newspaper the Northern Whig. He left France for officer cadet training on 7 January 1917, reporting for duty at No.9 Officer Cadet Battalion, Gailes, Ayrshire, on 8 March 1917.

On 27 June 1917 Shaw was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) at Edinburgh. Later that year or early in 1918 he embarked for France, where he was attached to the 12th (Service) Battalion, Royal Scots.

On 25 April 1918 the battalion saw severe fighting at Kemmel Hill on the Ypres front. Shaw was one of the many wounded that day, in the left shoulder. Evacuated to the UK, he was admitted to the Edinburgh War Hospital. The wound was not severe and by June he was able to rejoin the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Scots. A medical board on 9 August found him fully fit for service.

Whether Shaw saw any further service overseas is not known at present. On 27 December 1918 he was promoted to lieutenant. On 19 May 1920 he was demobilised and relinquished his commission. Around this time he returned to the United States, where he lived in Brooklyn, New York.