A GREAT soldier and a great bloke.
The words today of Lance-Corporal Graham Shaw’s commanding officer, as he and others paid tribute to Huddersfield’s first fatality of the Afghanistan conflict.
All have praised his “Yorkshire fighting spirit”.
Lance-Cpl Shaw, 27, of Golcar, was killed the day after his birthday by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in Helmand on Monday.
He died alongside Corporal Liam Riley, 21, of Sheffield while serving with a battle group of the Coldstream Guards.
Both men were killed instantly in the two improvised explosive device blasts in the Babaji District of central Helmand province.
Lance-Cpl Shaw was leading a patrol and Cpl Riley was the number two.
Lieutenant Colonel Tom Vallings, Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment said: “Typically, Lance-Corporal Graham Shaw was at the front of the patrol when he was tragically killed by an IED in Helmand.
“He was 27 years old, totally selfless, an excellent soldier and the best of fun.
“He had that knack of being able to balance both work and play to ensure he got the very best out of all that he tackled.
“He was from Huddersfield and he had that Yorkshire fighting spirit in abundance. You would want him on your team whatever the task.
“Lance-Corporal Shaw was at his best on operations where he thrived under the added pressure and difficult conditions.
“He would brighten your day with his sense of humour and determination to get the job done.
“Lance-Corporal Shaw’s loss is felt by us all in this close knit Battalion, but none more so than by his family and friends and our thoughts and prayers are with them.
“A great soldier and a great bloke who served his country and his friends, making Afghanistan a better place.”
Private Luke Davidson, of 3 Yorks said: “Corporal Riley and Lance-Corporal Shaw will leave a huge gap, not just in their team, but also for the company at large.
“They were extraordinarily fine representatives of the ‘Dukes’ and had made themselves very firmly part of the Coldstream ‘family’ too.
“The men of this company extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends left behind by Corporal Riley and Lance-Corporal Shaw.
“We will never forget them.
“Lance-Corporal Shaw was an impressive NCO, clearly respected and popular among a very close-knit team.
“I regret that I knew him for such a short time, but he made firm friends amongst this company.
“In the few weeks we knew him he demonstrated time and again that he was very much one of us.
“He will be so sadly missed.” Captain Chris Ibbotson, Company Second in Command, 3 Yorks said: "Lance-Corporal Shaw was an extremely likeable and capable man, a figurehead for the men under his command.
“He was always able to see the bright side of any occasion, no matter how bleak, and could always be found helping less experienced, and at times more experienced, individuals when needed.
“Extremely professional, Lance-Corporal Shaw also sported an infectious sense of humour.
“He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”
Captain Simon Farley, Platoon Commander, 3 Yorks said: “‘Shozza’ was one of life’s true characters and will be missed beyond words.
“He epitomised what it was to be a soldier.
“His courage was evident in everything he did and he wore his heart on his sleeve.
“It was a privilege to have served with him.
“The phrase ‘work hard, play hard’ couldn’t describe his take on life any better. Ever smiling, he approached life with gusto and enjoyed every minute of it.
“My thoughts go out to his family.
“He will leave a gap in more lives than he would ever know and I will miss him.
“The loss of ‘Shozza’ is huge and will be felt throughout the Regiment for a long time.
“Our thoughts are with his family who will be feeling the loss more acutely than we can imagine.”
Sgt Adrian Dixon, Platoon Sergeant, 3 Yorks said: “We got to know each other throughout training, and then saw each other when I joined 3 Yorks.
“You were the ‘granddad of the Multiple’ and all the boys looked up to you. Your experience was overwhelming.
“We are all thinking of your family at this awful time.
Private Luke Davidson, 3 Yorks, said: “‘Shawy’ was always someone you looked up to.
“Calm and composed he was a great commander, ready to offer good advice to those less experienced.”
The Examiner was contacted by a former comrade of Lance-Corporal Shaw who served with him in Germany and recently at Warminster in the 1st Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (now 3 Yorks).
Fijian William Waqavakatoga said: “His volunteering to go out to Afghanistan is testimony for the love of his job.
“I wish to pay tribute to a fellow brother in arms, he will dearly be missed by his family, friends and those of the Regiment.
“My deepest condolences to his family.”
THE town which has become famous for its moving tributes to war victims will honour a Huddersfield man tomorrow.
The streets of Wootton Bassett are expected to be lined by hundreds of people – including many from Huddersfield – when Dukes’ soldier Graham Shaw is brought home.
Lance-Cpl Shaw, 27, of Golcar, was killed on Monday in a roadside bomb attack in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
He was serving with the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington’s) and died just hours after celebrating his birthday.
His colleague, Cpl Liam Riley, 21, of Sheffield, was also killed on Monday morning in a roadside bomb attack.
He too, will be repatriated tomorrow.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the soldiers would be flown home to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire at 11am, with a ceremonial flypast before landing.
There will be a private service at the base for Lance-Cpl Shaw’s family.
The cortege will then make its way through Wootton Bassett, where friends and relatives of the two soldiers will join people from the town in silent tributes.
FRIENDS and people who remember Lance-Corporal Graham Shaw have continued to pay tribute to him on an internet memorial site.
Terri-Jane Swann wrote: "I remember Graham from early childhood.
"I'm still good friends with his sister and my thoughts are with all his family and friends at this difficult time.
"Graham was a wonderfully sweet child and by the looks of the comments on here he had grown into a wonderful man.
"A true hero who was taken from this life too soon. Rest in peace Graham xxx"
Lisa Keenan added: "I remember Graham from back in the day when we were kids and living in Germany when our Dads were in the army.
"His sister was one of my best friends and his Mum and Dad were close family friends so this terrible news has devastated us all.
"I remember Graham as a really sweet natured kid and from reading the comments on here he turned out to be a smashing young man."
Stacey Elizabeth J Fitzgibbon wrote: "A piece of the jigsaw will always be missing from our family now and it will never be the same. Love you forever and always.
"You were the best cousin I could have asked for."
FORMER Fartown and England rugby league star Frank "Spanky" Dyson was Graham Shaw’s grandfather.
Mr Dyson, who died in 1979, was a hugely-successful star with the club for more than 12 years.
In his career with the Fartown team, he kicked 991 goals and scored 2,156 points.
He later became a director of the club and was an international selector.
He went on to run The Harp pub in Bradford Road, just a few hundred yards from the famous Fartown ground.
Did you know L/Clp Graham Shaw? If you want to pay tribute to him please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01484 437764