Memorial tribute planned for tragic Warminster officer
Family, friends and colleagues of the deputy commander of the Warminster Garrison, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Shaw, who killed himself last year while suffering from stress, are to celebrate his life at a memorial service.
Lt Col Shaw, 52, was found dead last June, and an inquest later found he committed suicide due to the pressures of military life.
The service for the father-of-three will take place next Thursday at St Mary’s Church in Fairford, Gloucestershire. His widow, Angela, said she is still ‘in talks’ with the Army about the events leading up to his death.
She found her husband’s body in his car in a secluded country lane near Cirencester, after he told her he was going to a gun shop to sell his weapons.
Mrs Shaw said: “It’s been a hugely difficult time for the whole family, as we suddenly amidst the trauma also left a life which we had dedicated many years to.
“I’m still talking to the Army as the family is still pressing for answers about the failures in their duty of care for my husband and an explanation for why there was not something in place for him.”
Mrs Shaw said her husband was widely acknowledged as a compassionate leader within the Army and that his integrity and moral courage, as well as his selfless devotion to his soldiers, inspired trust.
She added that his open character made him a natural person to turn to when people had problems, or when they needed something, and that he had a deep love of his family and friends.
Lt Col Shaw was responsible for ensuring that soldiers received appropriate housing and related support services, in his role as deputy commander at the Warminster garrison, at a time of dwindling resources.
After joining the Irish Guards in 1981, Lt Col Shaw served in Germany, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Berlin and Belize, as well as on ceremonial duties in London.
Following his marriage, he spent much of his later career on postings to the Italian army or to NATO HQ, including a tour of duty in Kosovo.
He was later picked as personal staff officer to the deputy commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command in Naples, before taking a similar role with the 3rd (UK) Division at the height of the insurgency in southern Iraq.