"Still Trespassing" in Wilf's own words.
The late Wilf Shaw was in 6th Green Howards Battalion, British Army. He had a very full war and fought as a signaller with the Green Howards, 50th infantry division. He fought in many campaigns including fighting for Monty’s 8th army in Alamein, Wadi Akarit in Tunisia, Sicily and of course Normandy. He was wounded twice and still returned to battle! In recent years Wilf was awarded the Legion D'honneur by the people of France for his services in WWII Normandy in 1944.
I’m very sorry to say that Wilf Shaw passed away recently, at the age of 98. That’s the Wilf Shaw who has regaled and entertained us with so many tales of WWII.
So this is beyond doubt going to be the most difficult episode to the show that I’ve ever produced. And I just hope I can do Wilf justice.
I’m going to let his very good friend Lesley Littlewood explain the circumstances, just as she wrote in the WW2Talk.com forum:
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have to report the passing of Wilf Shaw, aged 98, my dear friend and Veteran of 6th Green Howards. His family have told me he passed away very peacefully in the early hours of this morning, Wednesday 21st March 2018 in hospital.
He had enjoyed exceptional health for his age until a few weeks ago, when the breathing difficulties he had had trouble with during the past eighteen months worsened quite dramatically.
I visited him at home in Oldham just less than two weeks ago, and even though he was quite unwell, he still managed to have a cheerful smile and a warm welcome for me; as usual we chatted and laughed and tried to put the world 'to rights' and he never lost his sense of humour.
He first contacted me through the forum around the Autumn of 2012. I don't know why he messaged me in particular; maybe he had been browsing the forum as he was a lurker, not a poster; but probably wanted to make contact with someone whose father had served in WW2 also. We messaged and e-mailed regularly and finally met at his home in February 2013, just before his 93rd birthday.
Wilf was a true gentleman, with a very dry sense of humour and I always enjoyed the stories he told me; he could recall most things - names of men he served with and the places he visited. We didn't always talk about his war years, in fact we often discussed the latest news, and politics - he was an avid reader of books and newspapers and had always something to talk about, so I think in the 5 years I knew him we were never short of conversation.
Wilf was always very generous with his time. Regular forum members will recall our few meetings with Paul Cheall at the cafe in Debenhams in Manchester. He never seemed to tire of Paul's questions and queries about his time in the Green Howards and the stories Wilf told were always told with some little funny anecdotes which had Paul and I in stitches and I do often wonder what the staff in the cafe thought we were getting up to for the hours we sat in there!
There are so many things I could say but cannot put into words right now about the wonderful gentleman Wilf was, but I feel privileged to have met such a kind man and I am proud to have called him my friend.
RIP My old, soldier friend. I shall miss you very much