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Monday, 22 September 2014

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‘Our son saved the lives of four people’ - parents of Barrow soldier, 23

THE heartbroken family of a war hero who died in battle say they found comfort after his organs saved the lives of four people.

On Wednesday, January 16, 23-year-old Kingsman Dave Shaw, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, became the 440th British soldier to die in Afghanistan since 2001 when he was shot by insurgents.

Shortly after he lost his life, his parents David snr and Jenny Shaw made the decision to allow their son’s organs to be donated, saving the lives of seriously ill patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

At the family home in Flass Meadows, Barrow, they opened up about their pain, but also their love and pride in a “mischievous” but “sensitive” young man.

The physically slight youngster, who developed into a role model for new recruits, died two days after being shot in Helmand Province on January 14.

“He wanted to be in the army since about year two in school,” remembered Mrs Shaw, aged 50.

“Whenever they talked about what they wanted to be when they grow up he always said he was going to be a soldier.”

Kgn Shaw’s older sister Michelle, 29, and younger brother Charlie, 21, described their brother as having a “crazy sense of humour”.

“He said to his senior officer during his training, ‘I suppose I better call you sir?’, that was our Dave all over,” said Michelle.

Kgn Shaw joined the army in 2008 after swearing his Oath of Allegiance at the Territorial Army centre in Holker Street, and was driven to the barracks in Catterick on a snowy day in January.

Mr Shaw, 49, said: “I was pleased he’d decided he was going to do something, because it gave him some direction in life.”

Mental strength and determination saw Kgn Shaw fulfil his dream of becoming a fully fledged infantryman at the age of 19.

“We were saying last summer how we had seen such a big change in him. I think it made him a man really,” said Mr Shaw.

The excitement of his training ended with the call for his first Afghanistan tour in 2010, where he would spend the defining months of his life.

“It was tough. It was the first time he had been on active duty and it was worrying for all of us. He had never been away for so long.”

Kgn Shaw’s second tour of duty began in October 2012, and his family said he relished the extra responsibility his veteran status afforded him.

“All the younger ones were excited about getting into the action, but he was able to calm them down and tell them what it was really like,’’ said Mrs Shaw.

The news that Mr and Mrs Shaw’s son had been wounded came on Monday, January 14.

“I was at work, and a man from the MoD came round and told Sarah he was in theatre in Camp Bastion. It’s one of the best hospitals in the world so we were quite hopeful.”

Mr and Mrs Shaw were driven to Birmingham by the MoD, but say they had no idea what to expect when they arrived.

His younger sister Sarah Shaw, 25, said: “It didn’t even for a second cross my mind that he would die. We were more worried about what to say to him when we saw him, rather than fearing the worst.”

“We didn’t know how bad it was until we got there. We were quite hopeful right up until we were told the prognosis, which wasn’t good ” said Mr Shaw.

“I did will him to wake up a few times. He just looked like he was asleep,” added Sarah.

“We stroked his hair and squeezed his hand, hoping he would squeeze back. He just had a bandage on his neck, it’s hard to look at somebody like that and think ‘there’s no hope’. That was the hardest thing,” said Mr Shaw

Despite their suffering, Mr and Mrs Shaw believe their son gave his life to a cause worth fighting for.

“Just because they’re not doing good right on our doorstep, doesn’t mean they’re not doing good at all. A lot of people say it isn’t worth it but the things the army are doing in Afghanistan are fantastic,” said Mr Shaw.

“When I think of what he did over there, and the people he helped after he died, I feel so proud,” said Mrs Shaw.

Have your say

A truly wonderful family,loving,warm,caring and charitable family.God be with you,Amen.

Posted by captain bluebirdseye on 5 February 2013 at 14:13

Too young to die, very sad. However I feel very humble. Family are wonderful and brave. I hope their find peace soon x

Posted by Chris on 4 February 2013 at 21:37

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