Private 15450 Arthur Shaw

Shaw Arthur 96 385x600Shaw Arthur 96 413x600

Died of Wounds on Sunday, 31st March 1918, age 31.
Buried in Grave II. H. 22. at Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 32nd Battalion. 32nd Division.
Formerly 20266 South Staffordshire Regiment.

Son of Arthur Shaw, of Brierley Hill, Staffs.
Born: Brierley Hill, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Dudley Port.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/35621/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Arthur Shaw registered March quarter 1886 in Dudley.

1901 Census
73 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Arthur Shaw (41, Widower, Butcher, born Tipton), and his 4 children: Jane E. (18, born Tipton), Arthur (14, born Tipton), Beatrice M. (7, born Tipton), and David (5, born Tipton).

1911 Census
2 Court 5 House Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Living with his brother-in-law William Ball and sister Jane Ball was:
Arthur Shaw (24, Brickmaker, born Brierley Hill).

Marriage of Arthur Shaw and Florence A. Gordon registered December quarter 1911 in Dudley.
Daughters Florence born December quarter 1912, Irene born June quarter 1916, and Margaret born in December quarter 1918 after Arthur's death.

Personal Data

A. Shaw is commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial; the 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' records Pte. A. Shaw, Machine Gun Corps, so we can be sure we have the correct man as there is no alternative.

On the 1911 census Arthur Shaw is recorded as born in Brierley Hill, this is the only mention of Brierley Hill except that his father is shown to be resident there by 1919. The newspaper article of 7th May 1918 confirms that he and his family were resident in Dudley Port. The article talks of his 2 children; a third child, Margaret, was born in late 1918, after Arthur had died.

Arthur's outstanding army pay and allowances of £7/6/11d (7 pounds, 6 shillings and 11 pence) was paid to his widow Florence A. Shaw in August 1918. In November 1919 she received his War Gratuity of £11/0/0d, this suggests that he enlisted in October 1915.

Action resulting in his death

The German Spring Offensive began on 21st March 1918, and quickly pushed the Allies back across the 1916 Somme battlefield. Units were transferred to the Somme area, amongst them the 32nd Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (32/MGC) which moved on 28th March 1918 by train from north of Ypres to Lattre-Saint-Quentin, about 6 miles east of Arras. Arthur Shaw served in the 32/MGC, which belonged to the 32nd Division.

On the next day, the 29th, the Battalion moved to Ransart except 'A' Company which went into Reserve at Adinfer, midway between Arras and the 1916 Somme battlefield. On the 30th March, 'A' Company were joined at Adinfer by 'B' Company, both now in Reserve.

The 32/MGC War Diary for the 30th March records: "2/LT. S.V. Spears wounded, 4 Other Ranks Killed, 7 Other Ranks Wounded". As the 32/MGC did not move into the front line until the next day, it is possible that the casualties were caused by German artillery and their harassing fire on the Reserve and Rear areas. According to the report in the Evening Despatch (see below), this was the day that Arthur Shaw was wounded. He died on the next day, 31st March, in the 56th Casualty Clearing Station (known as the South Midlands Casualty Clearing Station) which was adjacent to Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery where he is buried. Gezaincourt is near Doullens, well behind the front line 20 miles to the west of Arras.

Newspaper Cuttings

Evening Despatch 7th May 1918
As the result of gunshot wounds in the head and body, sustained in the fighting in France on 30 March, Private Arthur Shaw, Machine Gun Corps, whose home was at Dudley Port, died in hospital the following day. Before enlisting he was employed at the brickworks of Mr. S. Barnett, Dudley Port. He leaves a widow and two children.