Joseph Shaw, L/Cpl G/8419, 13th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Killed in action 30th June 1916 in France
Joseph Shaw was born in Wigan, Lancashire but later lived in Walsall. His family has not yet been identified.
Joseph was employed as an asylum attendant near Birmingham and moved to Macclesfield in 1911 to take up a similar position at Parkside Asylum.
In September 1913 he married Eliza Connolly in Macclesfield and their daughter, Lilian, was born in Macclesfield the following year.
Joseph was a keen footballer, having played for the Parkside team, and went to Belgium for six months to work as a professional footballer, after which he found employment at the Cheddleton Asylum, Staffordshire, where he was engaged at the time war broke out.
Joseph enlisted with the Royal Fusiliers in Leek on 28th November 1914, and received his training in Dover and at Purfleet, Essex. He was drafted to France, arriving there on 17th August 1915. He may have been promoted to Acting Lance Corporal prior to his death, as he is variously referred to as Private and Lance Corporal in official documents.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 7th July 1916:
KILLED IN ENEMY TRENCHES – FORMER ASYLUM ATTENDANT
Yesterday… Mrs Shaw, of 51 Ryle Street, Macclesfield, received news of the death of her husband, Lance-Corporal Joseph Shaw, Royal Fusiliers, who was killed in action in France last Friday night. The painful intelligence was conveyed in the following letter dated the 2nd inst. from the Rev. E W Trevor, and Army Chaplain attached to the Rifle Brigade:
“Dear Mrs Shaw, I feel I must write to you a line to say how much I feel for you in the loss of your husband, Lance-Corpl. Shaw. You will have heard by this time, I expect, that he was killed while performing his duty on the evening of June 30th. He was hit just as he was entering the German trenches, and died soon after he had been bravely brought back by an officer and two men. I was with his party just before they went out, and can testify how brave… they all were. We buried your husband and a comrade in a little cemetery in a ravine. The place has been carefully noted by the Graves Registration Committee. The Adjutant of the regiment, and I think all the men who had been with your husband on the previous night, attended the service. One of the sergeants had gathered a large handful of roses, which he put on the grave. The regiment are erecting a white wooden cross and are also planting flowers on the grave. If I can at any time obtain a picture of the cemetery I will send it to you…”
Lance-Corporal Shaw was a native of Walsall and came to Macclesfield about five years ago as an attendant at the Parkside Asylum. He had previously been employed in a similar capacity at an institution near Birmingham. Two years ago last September he married Miss Connolly, of Ryle Street, and there is one child. The deceased remained at Parkside about twelve months, and subsequently went out to Belgium as a professional footballer. After six months he returned to England and accepted an appointment at the Cheddleton Asylum, Staffordshire, where he was engaged at the time war broke out.
Lance-Corporal Shaw, who had had no previous experience of Army life, enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers on November 28th, 1914, and received his training in Dover and at Purfleet (Essex). He went out to France in the following June and took part in several engagements. Deceased returned to the trenches only a fortnight ago, after spending his first furlough of five days with his wife at Macclesfield. He went away very cheerful and expressed the hope that he would soon come home for good.
Deceased was well-known among local footballers as he was a member of the Parkside team, which took part in the Workshops competition, and he also at one time figured prominently in that branch of sport in the Midlands.
Much sympathy is felt with Mrs Shaw in her bereavement, as it does, upon the loss of a brother, Private Edwin (sic) Connolly, King’s Liverpool Regiment, in the war. He was reported missing after the battle of Hill 60, and a few months ago official intimation of his death was received. Altogether five of her brothers have served in the Army, one having been killed and another wounded. Two were mobilised as Reservists and two others joined since the outbreak of the war.
Private Joseph Shaw is buried in Grave Ref. A. 6. of the De Cusine Ravine British Cemetery, Basseux in France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Joseph Shaw, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Elsewhere, he is commemorated on the Cheddleton Mental Hospital war memorial in St Edward’s Church, Cheddleton, Staffordshire.
Brother-in-law of Edward Connolly, who served as Private 27158 with the 4th Battalion of The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) and was killed in action on 27th April 1915.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages
Census (England & Wales): 1911
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 7th July 1916 and 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)