photo courtesy of Len
Harold Shaw was born in Oldham in 1897. James' parents were James, a machine joiner, and Kate who was a dressmaker. Harold was the middle of three children, older brother Wilfrid and younger sister Doris being his siblings. Before Harold's birth the family had lived in Oldham and could again be found there afterwards in 1901 when they were living at 29 Plato Street in Westwood. Later that year James Shaw died aged only thirty five with young Harold being only four at the time. By the time of the 1911 census the Shaws were back in Royton, at 538 Higginshaw Lane. Harold was working as a piecer in one of the local cotton mills.
Harold joined the army in Shaw around about December 1915 and became a member of the Manchester Regiment. He was posted to the 26th Battalion and would have spent time with them based in Southport and then Altcar, near Formby.
It's been difficult to pinpoint when Harold was sent out for active service but judging by the dates of death of men with similar service numbers he was one of the new drafts of men sent out to the 2nd Battalion Border Regiment in the autumn of 1916 to replace it's heavy combat losses. The 2nd Borders had been decimated early in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and had suffered further losses in September. During November and December 1916 the 2nd Borders were in and out of the front line and by mid December were near to Beaumont Hamel and suffering a great deal from the accuracy of German shellfire. Another great drain on manpower was the intense bitter cold that the winter of 1916/1917 brought. Harold was one of it's many victims. Suffering from pneumonia he was taken to a casualty clearing station and died there on December 31st 1916.
On January 4th 1919 the following two notices were posted in the Oldham Chronicle:
In loving memory of Private Harold Shaw,Border Regiment,
died of pneumonia in France Dec 31st,1916
Days of sadness still come o'er us,
Tears in silence often flow,
ever will our hearts remember
The dear one we lost two years ago
From his sorrowing Mother,Sister & Brother
In fond and ever loving memory of Private Harold Shaw,
of the Border Regiment, died of pneumonia in France,Dec 31st 1916
Time changes many things,
But loving memory ever clings
Harold's mother Kate died in 1934 and is buried at Greenacres Cemetery In Oldham along with his father James
Date of Death:31/12/1916
Cemetery:Puchevillers British Cemetery