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Some of the information in this blog post has been contributed by Susan Martin, a volunteer working on the Queen Street project:


Leslie Gardner Shaw was born in Wolverhampton on 12 September 1890, the son of John Perks and Eliza Shaw. In 1901, he was living with his family at West Bank, Richmond Road. The household consisted of Leslie, his parents, brother Malcolm J. B., servants Annie S. Stanton and Elizabeth Thomas, and a visitor, theological student Henry C. Carter from London. Leslie was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School and Sedbergh School in Yorkshire, before studying from September 1907 to December 1910 at the University of Birmingham for a B.Commerce (which he never took).

He was a private in the Sedbergh school cadet corps until he left the school in 1908. He later joined what was presumably the family firm of Messrs. J. Shaw and Sons, Ltd, hardware merchants. The 1911 census records him as a clerk in the firm, his older brother Cecil Hamilton being the firm’s secretary. Their father had by this time retired. Leslie had another brother, Malcolm Jon Bell, who was a pupil in farming at that time. The Shaw family were prominent and active members of the Queen Street Congregational Church. John Perks was a long serving deacon and secretary to the church.

Leslie attested on 21/9/1914 in Walsall, 5ft 9ins tall, brown hair, grey eyes and was in D company 1/5th South Staffordshire Regiment when he was made a 2nd Lieutenant on 4/8/1915. He then moved to A company. The Reverend Thompson, minister at Queen Street Congregational Church, signed his application form for a commission. At the time of his death on 13 October 1915, the battalion was involved in fierce fighting at the Hohenzollern Redoubt near Loos. He was listed among a collection of local officers who had died in the Express & Star on 22 September 1916. A press cutting dated 21 October 1915, including the attached photograph, appears in the First World War scrapbook held at Wolverhampton Archives. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, as well as on the memorial of Queen Street Congregational Church. Although his name appears on Wolverhampton Grammar School’s list of men who died in the war, no obituary appeared in the school magazine for him. His name is on Panel 2 in the cloister of Sedbergh College. John Perks Shaw died on 20 October 1933 aged 84 at West Bank and left an estate worth £24146 3s 5d.