Operations in Afghanistan

Kingsman David Shaw dies from wounds sustained in Afghanistan

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Kingsman David Robert Shaw from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment died in Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on Wednesday 16 January 2013 from wounds sustained in Afghanistan.

Ministry of Defence crest

Kingsman Shaw sustained a gunshot wound when his checkpoint came under attack from insurgents in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province on Monday 14 January 2013.

Kingsman David Shaw (All rights reserved.)

Kingsman David Shaw (All rights reserved.)

Kingsman David Shaw, from Barrow-in-Furness, was born on 13 October 1989 and joined the Army in February 2008. He successfully completed the Combat Infantryman’s Course at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick and was posted to 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

Following this, Kingsman Shaw deployed to British Army Training Unit Suffield, Canada, in the summer of 2009 with Corunna Company where he was employed as a rifleman in a mechanised platoon. He then conducted pre-deployment training for Operation Herrick 12 and deployed with Corunna Company in March 2010 to Nad ‘Ali district in southern Helmand.

Kingsman Shaw performed strongly with 10 Platoon working out of Patrol Base Silab. Upon returning to the UK, Kingsman Shaw remained with Corunna Company and successfully qualified as an Assault Pioneer.

As the battalion prepared to deploy back to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 17 in October 2012, Kingsman Shaw was the voice of experience for the junior soldiers, deploying not only as an Assault Pioneer but also as a qualified sharpshooter. All new soldiers in Corunna Company looked up to Kingsman Shaw and followed the excellent example that he set.

This was demonstrated when he was involved in an incident in Afghanistan where 4 local children had fallen into a canal following a vehicle accident. The children were taken by local nationals to the nearest security forces checkpoint where Kingsman Shaw did not hesitate to administer first aid to the children; his swift actions and assistance to the medics were of the highest calibre.

Faultless in his motivation and resolve, Kingsman Shaw was usually at the centre of any outbreak of morale and could be guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any Kingsman.

The family of Kingsman Shaw said:

David was a much-loved son and brother who was proud to have served his country in the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. He loved his family and friends and would always make time for a hug for everybody. He enjoyed playing football, running, and was an Arsenal fan. He also followed his local team, Barrow AFC. He has touched many lives. He will be missed and never forgotten.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Wood, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:

The death of Kingsman David Shaw is a devastating tragedy. The loss of our fallen comrade, who has fought so bravely and fiercely for 3 months, is deeply felt by all in the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

David was a true Cumbrian and Kingsman: physically and mentally tough, a warrior through and through, utterly loyal to those he worked with and possessing a sense of humour that touched us all. Known throughout the battalion as ‘Doctor S’ he was the most popular of individuals. His joking and light-heartedness would lift the gloomiest of situations and have us all laughing. He was someone we all wanted to be with and have around.

Highly experienced in operating in Afghanistan, he was conducting his second tour having previously served here in 2010. Both times he deployed regularly into some of the most dangerous parts of the country but was unflinching in his bravery and courage. Displaying nothing but professionalism and focus on the task, his ability to inspire those about him marked him out as a future leader.

Everyone wanted to be next to David on patrol as they knew he would be there for them. As one of the more senior Kingsmen in his platoon he took pride in helping those junior to him through challenging times, and there were plenty. Such unselfishness was something that we all aspire to.

The loss of David has left a gaping hole in the battalion and in our lives. Our memories of him will make us laugh and cry and renew our resolve to succeed with the mission - his sacrifice will not have been in vain. Yet it is to David’s family that I wish to express our deepest sympathies. I hope that knowing David was the best of Kingsmen, a true warrior and friend, who died doing what he loved, may offer them some comfort.

Major Mark McLellan, Officer Commanding Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:

I knew Kingsman Shaw very well. When I first arrived in Corunna Company, dressed in civilian attire, he accosted me in the corridor outside the Company Sergeant Major’s office. After 10 minutes of idle banter he asked who I was and was not fazed in the slightest; ‘I should probably call you ‘Sir’ then’ he said as he left.

During my time in the company Kingsman Shaw has always been at the forefront of everything we have done; whether that was leading a section attack on exercise in Canada and successfully destroying a tank, or leading the charge to the bar on a company night out.

An incredibly engaging individual, he would often chat with me at length about events within the company and the disasters that had befallen other members of Corunna! As a senior soldier who had already deployed to Afghanistan, he could often be found dispensing advice or guidance to one of the many junior Kingsmen in the company.

He always underplayed this however, and probably did not realise the full extent of the effect he had on these young men. It was for this and many other reasons that Kingsman Shaw had been selected to attend a Potential Junior NCO cadre where I am convinced he would have done very well.

Kingsman Shaw had been through some of the fiercest fighting we have seen as a company and always came out the other side smiling and cracking jokes. He had the ability to raise morale just by being in the room and his loss is keenly felt across the whole battalion as there are few people who did not know him.

Within Corunna Company we are left hollow and saddened by the loss of our friend and comrade. However, we know that any sense of loss that we feel, as painful as it is, will only be a shadow of what his family must be feeling, and the thoughts of everyone in the company are with them.

Captain Ken Neilson, Second in Command, Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:

Kingsman Shaw was one the most genuine and kind-natured soldiers I have had the pleasure of serving with. His steadfast resoluteness, even in the face of adversity, set an outstanding example to the remainder of the company.

Kingsman Shaw was always at the centre of any morale to be had; ‘Doctor S’ knew everyone in Corunna Company and the wider battalion. He was just as at home chatting away to his mates as he was to the commanding officer, always polite and well-mannered but confident in expressing himself.

Kingsman Shaw was a solid and dependable operator who could be trusted to get the job done. He showed this during the company’s deployment to British Army Training Unit Suffield, Canada, last year where he stepped up as a section second-in-command. Kingsman Shaw rose to the challenge with enthusiasm, dedication and performed well, even when out of his comfort zone.

During the Mission Specific Training for Operation Herrick 17 ‘Shawy’ qualified as an Assault Pioneer and as a sharpshooter, a vital role for a senior Kingsman. As one of the most senior Kingsmen in the company he was a guiding hand for new soldiers and was looked to for help, a role which he took seriously and performed well.

Corunna Company mourns the loss of one its longest serving and best soldiers; our thoughts and prayers are with his family. He genuinely was the epitome of the professional infanteer.

Lieutenant Michael Borup, Officer Commanding 2 Platoon, Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:

It has been a privilege to have been Kingsman Shaw’s platoon commander these last few months. His professionalism and commitment to the task at hand were a shining example to all others around him. His kindness towards the junior Kingsmen was humbling and it has been a pleasure to have had someone with his strength of character in the platoon.

He could always be relied on no matter how difficult the task, how great the risk, and, through his actions, to inspire those around him. Kingsman Shaw always committed his all to everything he did; he was respected by his commanders and was an example to the soldiers who looked up to him. He would have made a worthy Junior Non-Commissioned Officer.

I have seen no other soldier show so much courage in adversity, generosity to people he did not know, and loyalty to his friends, his company and those that he loved. Kingsman Shaw strived for the opportunity to make a difference. His contribution has been invaluable. I could not have wished for a better senior soldier and he will be sorely missed.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Carl Fleming, Company Sergeant Major, Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:

Kingsman Shaw was one of the senior Kingsmen in Corunna Company. He was known throughout the company as ‘Doctor S’ due to one of his plethora of interesting tattoos. A valued member of his section, platoon and company, he was a qualified Sharpshooter and Assault Pioneer and these skills were put to good use during the tour.

Having been his platoon sergeant throughout training it was rewarding to return as his company sergeant major and see how he had matured and grown through experience and further training. Kingsman Shaw will be sorely missed by all ranks of Corunna Company and our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones back in the UK.

Acting Sergeant Mark Stevens, 2 Platoon, Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:

To Kingsman Shaw, a missed brother-in-arms; you were an inspiration who helped me guide the rest of the platoon through adversity and danger. You showed true courage, exceptional bravery and demonstrated genuine leadership, even when it was clear your own life was in danger.

The rest of the platoon responded well because of your actions. Thank you for being such a pleasure to be around and work with; my assessment that you were ready to move forward and become a junior commander was bang on. You would have made one hell of a non-commissioned officer. Rest easy, we will keep fighting and remember you forever.

Corporal Daniel Royle, 2 Platoon Section Commander, Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:

Since I have known Kingsman Shaw, ‘Shawy’ or ‘Doctor S’ as he was known to most of us, it has been a privilege to not only serve with him but to have commanded such a willing and enthusiastic soldier. He was without doubt one of the most capable soldiers I have commanded.

Since we have been in Afghanistan, Kingsman Shaw seemed to be living on cans of ‘Monster’ while everyone else was drinking water, much to the amusement of the platoon. During the tour, Kingsman Shaw excelled and was due to be placed on the Potential Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre on returning to the UK to get his first stripe, the one that he always wanted.

Kingsman Shaw was the senior soldier in my section who the other lads looked up to. He died doing the job he loved and always dreamt of doing. Kingsman Shaw will always be remembered not only in the platoon, but also the battalion, and the gap that has been left will never be filled. I give my sincere condolences to his family, friends and all people who knew him. Rest in Peace.

Kingsman Matthew Bond, Foxhound Operator, Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:

I remember David when he first joined the battalion. I remember that he was a very quiet lad. He joined 11 Platoon in Corunna Company and was given a bedspace in the same room as me; we lived together for 2 years. David and I have deployed twice to overseas exercises in Canada together and this was our second tour of Afghanistan together.

The whole time I knew David he was a bright, funny and a hardworking young man. He was well liked and respected by the whole company. David’s death was heartbreaking to hear about and my thoughts are with his friends and family.

Kingsman Sam Wilson, Rifleman, Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:

I remember the first day I ever met Dave; we were only kids, playing on a building site where Tesco Metro is now. We were just playing about throwing stones at JCBs as you do. It wasn’t until the first day at the battalion, when the company got back from Canada, he walked into my room and we both just looked at each other and it took a few minutes before it clicked and he came over, shook my hand, and told me not to worry, it would be fine once I had settled in.

It was a good feeling to know that I was with a fellow Barrovian and someone that I knew. Over the months we became mates, always taking time to have a crack and a drink when we bumped into each other around Cornwallis Street. When we moved to 2 Platoon together it was a good feeling to know that I was going on tour with a friend and someone I could trust, someone with experience. My last memory will be of him smiling and laughing and taking photos while I was trying to get some sleep, which, thinking back, is a happy memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Kingsman David Robert Shaw. He has been praised by his colleagues as a highly skilled and capable soldier whose loss will be felt deeply by all who knew him. My thoughts are with his family, loved ones and those he served alongside in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

Published 17 January 2013
Last updated 17 January 2013 + show all updates
  1. This document has been updated following the naming of the deceased.

  2. First published.