Same (John) Shaw VC

b. ? Prestonpans, Scotland. d. 27/12/1859 at sea.

Samuel Shaw (?-1859) also known as John Shaw was born on an unknown date in Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland. He enlisted with the 1st Rifle Brigade. Promoted to Sergeant, he was posted to India. On 13th June 1858 at Nawabgunge, Shaw’s life would change through his act of gallantry.

Shaw VC Medal Royal Green Jackets Museum

In the middle of the fighting, a Ghazi, being cut off from his companions, seemed determined to make a desperate fight of it. Setting his back to a tree, he stood sword in hand, glaring fiercely on his pursuers, for some officers and men of the 3rd Battalion had followed him into the tope. Some shots were taken at him, which he tried to avoid by dodging around the tree, but was wounded and made him more desperate. At last, a Pioneer of the 3rd Battalion, Sergeant Samuel Shaw, rushed at him and closed in single combat. The Ghazi wounded Shaw on the head with his tulwar, but drawing the Pioneer’s sword, sawed at him with the serrated edge and killed the Ghazi. Shaw rose from the ground covered in blood, but his opponent lay slain.

He was recommended for the VC by General Hope Grant, and it was accepted and published on 28th October 1858. Shaw sailed for the UK in 1859, not yet having received his VC. During the voyage, on 27th December 1859, Shaw jumped overboard to his death. The probable cause was depression induced by the head wound he sustained in the fight with the Ghazi. His VC and the tulwar used by his enemy are held by the Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester, Hampshire.





Thomas Stewart – Shaw VC Memorial in Prestonpans Memorial Gardens, Scotland.