Edmund Terence SHAW
Rank: Private
Number: 1579
Unit: 2nd Battalion WELSH REGIMENT
Date of Death: 12 October 1915
Age: 20 (possibly)
Cemetery: (commemorated at) Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, Pas de Calais, France

It has not been possible to identify any members of Edmund's family with absolute certainty. However, an examination of the 1901 Census suggests he was, probably, the six year son of Ciaron and Annie Shaw then of 12 Waterloo Street, Stockport.

Edmund went overseas on active service on 30 November 1914. This early involvement in the War together with his service number suggests he was a Special Reservist. These were men who, before the War, had applied to become regular soldiers but for whom there wasn't an immediate job. They were trained; posted to the Reserve; paid a retainer and returned to civilian life until such time as there as a vacancy. Of course, with the outbreak of fighting they were called up and probably needed to undergo some further training before going overseas. The 2nd Welsh had landed in France on 13 August - just nine days after the declarartion of War - and they suffered heavy casualties in the opening weeks. Edmund's arrival will have been welcomed.

The British attack which would later be officially named the Battle of Loos opened on 25 September. For the men of the Army's 1st Division, the attack did not go well. Heavy machine gun fire pinned them down in No Man's Land and there were many casualties. Edmund and his mates were not in the first wave of attackers but were moved up to reinforce at about 11am. By now they could get across No Man's Land with relative ease and had few casualties.

The fighting continued for several more days including, on 8 October, an enemy counter-attack. The Battalion's War Diary, at the National Archives, describes what happened four days later when Edmund was killed:-

"At 11am, the Germans began to shell us with two 6-inch howitzers and they kept it up for four hours. Their shooting was amazingly accurate and they hit our trench about every third shot. They completely demolished 75 yards in one stretch and blew it in for a distance of 10 yards or more in places. In the area where it was blown in for 75 yards, the men who were in the little holes...(illegible)...in the sides were buried alive. It was a terrible morning and we would get no retaliation until at last the French appeared to have compassion on us and opened a brief bombardment with their 75s. We had 14 killed and 16 wounded. We were relieved by 2nd Munsters - returned to the support line."

Edmund was buried behind the front line in what became known as Crucifix Cemetery near Loos. After the Armistice, many of these small front line cemeteries were closed as the land was returned to civilian use. The bodies were exhumed and moved to larger "concentration" cemeteries, like Dud Corner. However, Edmund's body was one of twelve that couldn't be found when the exhumations took place and, presumably, still lies somewhere there. His name is now inscribed on a special Memorial at Dud Corner.

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