Major Bill Shaw, DSO

William Shaw was born on 1 Jun 1878. He served in the Navy (to 1908) and the Field Artillery (First World War) and was a good friend of Noel Downing‘s family.

He seems to have been a frequent visitor to 47 Selwyn Road, 1935-1945. For much of that time he was living in nearby Portland Road. He worked for a food manufacturing company called, Lovell and Christmas, and in the 1939 register is recorded as being a Wholesale Food Merchant.

A photograph of him is in the family album. A newspaper clipping of his death was also kept. Finally there is a ‘dinner party’ for 3 Apr 1937 at 47 Selwyn Road, which he attended. Helene Cordier, a French girl staying with the Downings, designed a menu for the event. The five guests including Kathleen Ashe and her husband.

Bill Shaw died in 1953. Lyon Hatton, Molly’s childhood neighbour in Hagley, was his solicitor

Sources and Notes

  • Molly Downing’s Pocket Diary, photos and archives
  • 1939 Register (
  • The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a commendation, ranking between the Military Cross and the Victoria Cross. No citation has been found.
  • The £50 bequest to George  A. L. Hatton refers to Lyon Hatton’s full initials. His wife Joyce was Joyce Reay another neighbour of the Evans and Downing family in Hagley around 1900.
  • Another similar friend of the Downings who seems also to be a business associate of Noel is Sydney Halsey (1861-1935), a malt-barley import merchant from Gloucester. He can be seen visiting the Beacon on a few photos.
Last updated on 2 March 2021 by JJ Morgan