21st Division 1914-18...a divisional history

Stewart Walter Loudoun-Shand VC

 

21st Division’s first VC winner,

Fricourt, The Somme

1st July 1916

Born in Ceylon on 8th October 1879, his parents ran a tea plantation. He was one of five boys and five girls. He completed his education at Dulwich College on returning to London with his family. He was an all round sportsman, excelling at Cricket, Golf and Swimming.

Following school he gained a job at Williams Deacons Bank as a clerk and in his spare time joined the Territorial Force with the London Scottish.

He attempted to serve with the London Scottish in South Africa during the Boer War but was deemed to be to young to serve over seas. Loudoun-Shand however was far more resourceful than that and managed to seek service with the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry. At the wars end he was offered a position in Port Elizabeth in the Mercantile business. He gained valuable experience here and stayed for three years.

In 1904 he returned to Ceylon and took up as a Tea merchant in a position his fathers influence in the trade gained him.

On the out brake of war he returned to England on one of the first ships from Ceylon. He was commissioned with the 10th Battalion Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Yorkshire Regiment, regt no.1128 (Green Howards). He was thirty five years of age. By June 1915 he was promoted Captain and his battalion was in France by September 1915. The battalion was part of 21st division and saw very hard service as part of the reserve committed near the end of the battle of Loos. As a result of heavy casualties he was given the rank of Temporary Major.

He was still in this position when the battalion still as part of 21st division and in particular as part of 62nd Brigade under Brigadier C G Rawlingwas to join battle on the 1st July 1916 on the Somme. The division was tasked with taking the area around Fricourt and the battalion was in reserve of the brigade. Loudoun-Shand was in command of B Company. As the men tried to go over the top they were tied down by murderous enemy machine gun fire.

With complete disregard for his own safety he scrambled up onto the parapet and encouraged his men to follow him over the top, until he was fatally wounded. He insisted on staying on the battlefield and as his life ebbed away he encouraged the men on from the trench where he had been propped up against the breast works.

The company eventually returned to it lines with one officer and twenty-seven men from a start of five officers and one hundred and seventeen other ranks.

He was award the Victoria Cross, which his father proudly accepted for him at Buckingham Palace on 31st of March 1917. He is buried in Norfolk Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, Plot I, Row C, Grave 77, which lays on the old battlefield.

 

 

CWGC Entry…..

 

In Memory of
Major STEWART WALTER LOUDOUN-SHAND

VC
10th Bn., Yorkshire Regiment
who died age 36
on 01 July 1916
Son of Mr. J. L. Loudoun-Shand, of 27, Alleyn Park, Dulwich, London.
Remembered with honour
NORFOLK CEMETERY, BECORDEL-BECOURT

A Picture taken from 'Deeds that Thrill the Empire, depicting Loudoun-Shand winning his VC