Lodge Park basketball captain, postman.. and Corby war hero Alex Shaw
Craftsman Alex Shaw, who would have turned 64 today, died in the Falklands War in 1982 just one day before the Argentine forces surrendered
It is nearly forty years since British Forces fought to recapture the Falkland Islands from Argentina. The war cost the lives of 255 British personnel and 649 Argentinians.
One of those killed in action was former Lodge Park student Alex Shaw, writes Mike Murray who works as a history teacher at the Shetland Way school.
Alex Shaw was born in Glasgow on 16 May 1957 and would have turned 64 today. He moved to Corby with his parents Jean and Alex Shaw when he was nine years old and a year later his sister Susan was born. Alex went to Lodge Park School where he loved basketball and was the captain of the school team.
After leaving Lodge Park Alex joined the Royal Marines. He loved life in the military however he decided to leave in order to get married. He worked in Corby as a postman and he and his wife Ann had a son called Craig in early 1982. Alex had decided that he missed life in the armed services and so had signed up again this time joining the Royal and Mechanical Engineers (REME) as a Craftsman. When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in April 1982 Alex was sent as part of the Task Force to retake the islands.
Alex would serve alongside the 3rd Battalion of The Parachute Regiment (3 Para) during the coming battles. On the night of 11th June 1982 3 Para was assigned to capture Mount Longdon, a mountain overlooking Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. Along with attacks on the neighbouring Mount Harriet and another peak called the Two Sisters, victory would give the British control over all the high ground around Port Stanley and leave the Argentinian forces in a much-weakened position.
The fighting on Mount Longdon was vicious. By the end of the night the British had lost 23 soldiers killed and another 50 wounded. Argentinian losses were 31 killed, 120 wounded and over 50 captured. Vitally the peak was now in British hands and the remaining Argentinian troops retreated back to positions around Port Stanley.
Even having suffered heavy losses and been forced from the mountains the Argentinians didn’t surrender and instead started to shell the British troops who dug in on the mountains.
The day after the heavy fighting on Mount Longdon, Alex was flown on to the mountain by helicopter to give support to the mortar platoon and machine gun platoon. Some of their weapons had become inoperable during the heavy fighting on the mountain and the fear of an Argentinian attack meant they needed to be fixed quickly. Having left the helicopter Alex moved to the exposed frontline positions to fix the broken weapons. Shortly after he arrived the position came under fire from Argentine artillery. Alex was hit and fatally wounded, despite gallant efforts from the unit’s soldiers and medics to save him.
The next day the Argentinian forces surrendered.
Craftsman Alex Shaw is commemorated with a plaque in the foyer of Lodge Park Academy and is remembered every November during the Academy’s Remembrance Day Service.
Headteacher Carly Waterman said: "At Lodge Park Academy we always emphasise many of the values that our Armed Services hold dear. The sense of pride in ourselves, the way we view ourselves as part of a team and how we all strive to reach our goals. Alex Shaw is a wonderful example of these values. He put himself in extreme danger to help his fellow soldiers and tragically he paid the ultimate price. We are very proud of all our former students who have gone on to join the military, but Alex holds a special place in our thoughts, and we remember him with the highest regard."