Private Bernard Shaw

Reprinted from The Packet, April 14, 2016
by Lester Green

Serving king and country through it all

Private Bernard Shaw survives the Battle of Monchy-le-Preux

Bernard Shaw was born to James and Mary (Walsh) Shaw in 1886 in the now-abandoned community of Batts Cove, near Little Heart’s Ease.

He travelled to St. John’s and enlisted in the Newfoundland Regiment on May 23, 1916. His age was listed as 27 years and 11 months on his attestation papers. Being single, and an older/mature person, he was the type of soldier the regiment was looking for in the early stages of the war.

Because both his mother and father were deceased, he listed his sister, Mary, as next of kin on his allotment papers. He requested that 50 cents be deducted from his pay and deposited into the Bank of Montreal.

After completing basic training at Pleasantville, his company proceeded to the dockside at St. John’s Harbour and embarked aboard the SS Sicillian on Aug. 28, 1916 to travel overseas to the United Kingdom.

Upon his arrival overseas, he travelled with his comrades to Newton-on-Ayr, Scotland. He continued his military training at a horse racetrack and school that was converted into a military training base for the Newfoundland Regiment.

His company was ordered to join the 1st Battalion Newfoundland Regiment, which was attached to the 29th Division, British Expeditionary Forces in France. He embarked at Southampton and arrived at Rouen on Dec. 1, 1916. They marched to the frontline and joined the Battalion on Dec. 12.

He fought in battle at Monchy-le-Preux, a small French village about eight kms from Arras between April and August, 1917. He was admitted to 88th field ambulance on June 16 for injury to the abdominal wall and re-joined the troop on July 26. He continued to fight alongside his comrades at Monchy until the end of August.

On Oct. 16, he was once again involved in active fighting at Flanders, where he fought until he developed pneumonia and was admitted to the 6th Stationary Hospital Frevent, France. He was transferred and admitted to 3rd London General Hospital Wandsworth, England suffering from pneumonia and bronchitis on Jan. 1, 1918.

Four days later a postal telegraph was sent to his sister, Mary, notifying her about her brother’s condition. The telegraph read:

Pay & Record Office states 2785, Pte Bernard Shaw at Wandsworth, pneumonia.

On May 27, a medical team filed a report at 3rd London General Hospital concluded that because of his medical condition that he would be reclassified and unable to carry out his duties with the Newfoundland Regiment. He was discharged and given furlough between June 7 to 14.

When Private Shaw completed his furlough, he reported back to “H Company” at Ayr, Scotland. He received orders that he was to join the Newfoundland Forestry Corp on June 24. He was assigned a one-month probationary time with the corp and spent the next six months attached to this unit.

On Dec. 12, he boarded the SS Corsican at Tilbury Docks at Essex, England and sailed to Newfoundland. He arrived on Dec. 21 and started the procedure for demobilization. He was officially discharged on March 14, 1919.

He had survived a number of battles and was finally home after spending approximately three years in service of his king and country.

The medals he received are not listed in his files but one can assume that he received the Silver War Badge for honourable discharge due to medical reasons, along with the Victory medal and the British War Medal.

On June 30, 1919 Private Bernard Shaw married Catherine, daughter of Frances and Mary Hallern, at Roman Catholic Cathedral in St. John’s. He survived the war and now began his life as civilian, married man.

Private Bernard Shaw passed away on Jan. 17, 1962 at the General Hospital, St. John’s. He was laid to rest at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. John’s, Newfoundland.

 

Royal Newfoundland Military Service Record

Private Bernard Shaw #2785

May 23, 1916: Signed his attestation papers at St. John’s and enlisted.

May 23, 1916: Attached for General Service with Newfoundland Regiment and assigned Regimental #2785.

June 17, 1916: Allotment of 50 cents to Mary Shaw, sister was living at Grates Cove.

Aug. 28, 1916: Embarked St. John’s for United Kingdom aboard SS Sicilian.

Nov. 30, 1916: Embarked Southampton, England to join British Expeditionary Force at Rouen, France.

June 16, 1917: Admitted to 88 Field Ambulance for treatment of abdominal Wall and rejoined Regimental Unit on June 24.

Dec. 12, 1917: Admitted to 6th Stationary Hospital Frevent, France with pneumonia.

Jan. 1, 1918: Invalided to England and admitted to 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, London.

Jan. 5, 1918: Telegraph to Miss Mary Shaw concerning her brother’s sickness.

May 29, 1918: Medical team report completed at 3rd London General Hospital. Private Shaw was determined to be medically unfit due to bronchitis and emphysema.

June 7, 1918: Granted furlough and then posted to Winchester H Company on June 14.

June 24, 1918 Assigned to Newfoundland Forestry Corps on one month probationary.

Nov. 23, 1918: Proceeded to Winchester Depot and struck off the strength of Newfoundland Forestry Corp after spending six months with the Forestry Unit.

Dec. 12, 1918: Embarked at Tilbury Docks, Essex, England aboard the SS Corsican to Newfoundland for demobilization.

Dec. 21, 1918: Arrived St. John’s from overseas and reported to depot.

Jan. 9, 1919: Recommended for discharge.

Jan. 15, 1919 Demobilization application completed by Bernard Shaw

Jan. 20, 1919 Demobilization Approved

Mar. 12, 1919: War Service Gratuity application filed.

Mar. 12, 1919: Demobilization Confirmed

Mar. 14, 1919: Discharge Certificate #1359 issued to Private Shaw.

April 16, 1919 Letter from Bernard Shaw to Militia concerning discharge certificate.

Jan. 26, 1962 Death certificate and request for memorial to be placed on the gravesite of Private Shaw .

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