[Skip to content]



  • Photo courtesy of Brian Szowkomud
Person Details
Northam, Devon
William was the son of Henry and Sarah Shaxon and the brother of Henry, William, Mary, Charles and Laura Shaxon. In 1891, they lived at Northam, Devon. William is recorded on the 1891 Census as George Shaxon. William married Hannah Chadburn in 1914 and a daughter, Joan Elizabeth, was born to them in 1915 at Bulwell, Nottingham. With effect from 26/2/1917, Hannah was awarded a weekly pension of 18/6d.
In 1901, William was working as a cow boy at Frains Farm in Buckland Brewer, for Robert Harris. He had been previously employed by Mr Steer of Bideford as a farm labourer.
01 Jul 1916
23
546201 - CWGC Website
8029
Sergeant
  • MM MM Military Medal
2nd Bn Devonshire regiment When he joined the Army in 1905 William was 18 years old, just under 5’ 6”, weighed 123 lbs, had a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. He gave his cousin Elizabeth as next of kin. He had previously applied to join the Royal Marines but had been unfit due to poor eyesight. William joined the 4th Battalion Devon Regiment for six years. By 1911, he was a Lance Corporal with the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment and stationed in Malta. His regimental number was 8029. The 2nd Devons were stationed in Malta from 1910 - 1912 and then moved to Egypt. The 2nd Devons returned to England in 1914 for war service. On the 1st July 1916, the Battle of the Somme commenced and the 2nd Devons were north of La Boiselle; the aim was to reach Pozieres. At 6.35am a tremendous bombardment opened which lasted for an hour. This bombardment was meant to destroy the enemy lines which were less than half a mile away. At 7.30am the unit went over the top to be met with a hail of fire. William, who had by then gained the rank of Sergeant, was lost, presumed dead. His body was later recovered and buried at Ovillers Military Cemetery. On 28 July 1917, William Shaxon was posthumously awarded the Military Medal.
William’s wife and daughter were living at Alverstone, Mead Road, Cranleigh, Surrey in 1938. Joan was a teacher. In 1939 they emigrated on board the Queen Mary to America and then on to Canada. Joan does not appear to have married, so it is unlikely that William has any descendants. Joan lived in Yukon, Canada and is described on her gravestone in Grey Mountain Cemetery, Whitehorse, as an “adventurer, teacher and artist”. She endowed a bursary through the Yukon Foundation for a Canadian university student from Yukon “pursuing studies in fine arts, art history, museum studies, or arts administration. Military and Extra information courtesy of Gill Willett and Janet Frew (bucklandbrewerhistorygroup)
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photo courtesy of Brian Szowkomud
    William Shaxon - Photo courtesy of Brian Szowkomud
  • Photo shows the family grave of William Shaxon in St James's churchyard Papplewick. Courtesy of Rachel Farrand
    William Shaxon - Photo shows the family grave of William Shaxon in St James's churchyard Papplewick. Courtesy of Rachel Farrand
  • William Shaxon commemorated at Buckland Brewer near Bideford, Devon. Photo courtesy of Brian Szowkomud.
    William Shaxon - William Shaxon commemorated at Buckland Brewer near Bideford, Devon. Photo courtesy of Brian Szowkomud.