Service number 140073
Born: March 31st 1916
Died: March 27th 1945.
Michael was born in Ormskirk to Roger Raines Shawcross and his wife Iris Delmira Campbell His father was a regular army officer in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment. Both his Shawcross and Campbell grandfathers had connections to the Lancashire cotton trade. His great grandfather, John Campbell, was a Scottish engineer who was responsible for the remarkable railways built in the 19th century from the coast up into the Andes. He married a local Peruvian woman and became a substantial businessman with mining interests in nitrate in the Atacama Desert. Offered the Presidency of Peru, he, wisely, declined and died quite young.
Roger died in January 1937 and left £22,314-18-2. Administration was granted to his widow and to Michael, described as a student. They were living at 51 Fitzjames Avenue, W14. His mother remarried in 1939.
Michael was educated at Downside and Matriculated in 1934. He was awarded a Classics Scholarship and followed his father to Christ Church. At that time, his address was given as Normanton Barracks, Derby. He graduated with a 2nd in Clasical Mods in 1936 and in French in 1938.After graduating, he was a student of Gray’s Inn.
In the summer of 1939, he married Friedel Marie Freund. They had one son born in March 1941 when they were living in Paignton, Devon, and who followed both his father and grandfather to Christ Church.
He joined the 7th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment and was seconded to the 1st Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment (16 Platoon, 'D' Company) when he was killed on March 27th 1945.
He is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Plot 56. G. 8.
From the War Diary of the 1st Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment, March 27th 1945.
Bn left MARIENBAUM and crossed the RHINE, proceeding to conc. area ESSERDEN (0653) where it arrived at 05.30 hrs. Bde "O" Gp at 09.00 hrs. Bn "O" Gp at 10.15 hrs when C.O. gave orders for Bn attack through 129 Bde to cut and seize stretch of Autobahn at 095590 - 091588. Attack was timed for 14.00 hrs in conjunction with a similar attack by 51 Div on our immediate right. Attack commenced on time with "D" Coy left fwd Coy and "A" Coy right fwd Coy. "A" Coy immediately encountered intense enemy M.G. fire, so heavy in fact that at 14.40 hrs they were still on the start line.
"D" Coy meanwhile were steadily pushing forward, also encountering heavy M.G. fire. The autobahn - a raised road proved a difficult objective since it commanded a perfect view of the flat ground over which our Coys were advancing and this was made even more difficult by the fact that each house and copse en route to it contained an M.G. However, after magnificent fighting, our Coys were on the autobahn - "D" Coy left fwd, "A" Coy right fwd, "C" Coy centre and "B" Coy in reserve. Throughout the attack enemy shelling was fairly intense, yet it caused comparatively few casualties,
With thanks to Roger Shawcross.
Image: Michael Shawcross at the Victoria Arms, July 1939