Shaw, William Maxwell (Maxwell)
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches
102nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Killed in action on Monday 28 or Tuesday 29 May 1917 (aged 35)
Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Belgium (Grave IV. C. 19)
College of St. Columba Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918, Rathfarnham
Brother of Second Lieutenant James Rowan Shaw
The death of Major William Maxwell Shaw DSO was reported in the 9 June edition of the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Kircubbin Family Bereaved. It was reported that Major William Maxwell Shaw was the younger son of the late James J. Shaw KC Recorder of Belfast and County Court Judge. In the same report, there was reference to the death on active service in February 1916 of his elder brother, Second Lieutenant J. R. Shaw.
William Maxwell Shaw was born on 19 April 1882 and he was the younger son of James Johnston Shaw and Mary Elizabeth Shaw (nee Maxwell) who were married on 16 August 1870 in Greyabbey Presbyterian Church. James Johnston Shaw, a Professor of Metaphysics and Ethics, was a son of John Maxwell Shaw of Kircubbin. Mary Elizabeth Maxwell was a daughter of William Maxwell of Ballyherly, Portaferry.
The Shaw family lived in Fishquarter House, Kircubbin and in Dublin in Upper Pembroke Street and at 69 Pembroke Road.
James Johnston Shaw KC was a Barrister at Law, Recorder of Belfast and a County Court Judge (he succeeded Judge Fitzgibbon in 1909). He was Pro-Chancellor of the Queen’s University Belfast and chairman of the University Commission.
James Johnston Shaw and Mary Elizabeth had at least four children:
Margaret Gamble Maxwell (she married Robert Henry Woods on 14 August 1894 in Woodlawn Presbyterian Church, Dundrum, Dublin; Robert Henry Woods was a surgeon who was subsequently knighted)
James Rowan (born 20 May 1880 in Dublin)
William Maxwell (born 19 April 1882)
Anne Johnston (born 1 January 1885 at 23 Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin; died in infancy 14 February 1886)
Mary Elizabeth Shaw died of bronchitis at 69 Pembroke Road, Dublin on 20 January 1908 (aged 65). Her son, Rowan Shaw, was in attendance and she was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.
James Johnston Shaw KC died of heart disease at 69 Pembroke Road, Dublin on 27 April 1910 (aged 65). His son-in-law, Sir Robert Henry Woods, was in attendance and he was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.
William Maxwell Shaw was educated at St Columba’s College, Rathfarnham in Dublin and was appointed Head Prefect. He was successful in school’s athletics competitions, including hurdles and high jump.
He obtained a commission in the Royal Field Artillery in 1900, was made Lieutenant on 19 December 1903, Captain on 13 November 1912 and Major on 27 July 1915. At different times he served with the 3rd Welsh Brigade, the 28th Cheshire Brigade and the 102nd Brigade Royal Field Artillery. He was awarded the DSO for gallantry at Martinpuich, France on 27 September 1915 and was also Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette of 4 January 1917 (Page 209). He was awarded the DSO for conspicuous gallantry in action. He went forward to ascertain the exact situation of our advanced infantry. Later, with another officer and two bombers, he carried out a daring reconnaissance of a trench thought to be occupied by the enemy, thereby obtaining most valuable information.
Major William Maxwell Shaw was 35 when he was killed in action on 28/29 May 1917 and he was buried in the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Belgium.
Major William Maxwell Shaw DSO MID is commemorated in the College of St. Columba Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918, Rathfarnham.