Samuel “Sam” “Taters” Shaw

Australia Military Forces


BIRTH: 1 June 1887
Portpatrick, Wigtownshire, Scotland
DEATH: 26 January 1951 Croydon, NSW
DEATH: 26 January 1951
Croydon, NSW

OCCUPATION: Carter 1914 / Boilermaker's Helper 1919

RESIDENCE: Carshalton St, Croydon, NSW


  • Wests RL First Grade 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913
  • Wests City Cup 1912, 1913
  • Wests RL 2nd Grade 1919, 1920, 1921


Sam Shaw was listed as Wests player #44 and Wests player #116 in the Wests First Grade Master List. He was also listed as G. Shaw in the Rugby League Project. The confusion appears to have arisen as he was recorded as G. Shaw and T. Shaw and S. Shaw in newspaper team lists of the time. He did play for Wests Second Grade between 1919 and 1921 after he returned from the war and it was clear that his name was Samuel Shaw. The recording of T. Shaw may have been in response to his nickname of “Taters.” S. Shaw was also elected as the Wests Second Grade captain in 1909.

In searching for the identity of Sam Shaw there were two clues to follow. It was known that he served in the First World War. In addition it was known that he had played football in the District for a while so his residential address would have to be in the West’s catchment area. A search of records raised two possibilities, these were, Samuel Shaw of Granville and Samuel Shaw of Croydon. Samuel Shaw of Croydon was the person that played for Wests as the other Samuel would have been too young.

Samuel “Taters” Shaw was born at Portpatrick Scotland in 1887. Portpatrick is a coastal town in the south west of Scotland on the north channel of the Irish Sea opposite Belfast, Ireland. Sam’s father John, was a seaman who drowned in a boating incident when Sam was 6 months old. Sam, with his mother and his sister emigrated to Australia in 1890. The extended Shaw family initially settled in the Ashfield District of Sydney. Sam was married in 1910, but in August of that year his wife Gertrude passed away leaving Sam as a young widower.

Sam Shaw enlisted with the AIF in September 1914 and was posted to the No. 2 Company, Australian Army Services Corps (AASC) Divisional Train. The AASC was a logistic service group within the Australian Army providing a range of services from transport, food supply, equipment repairs to specialised services that supported Divisional Battalions.

Sam was described in his military records as being 1.75 metres tall and weighing 74 kgs. He had dark hair, grey eyes and a ruddy complexion. On his attestation form he described himself as a “good horseman” and his usual occupation as “Carter.” His role within the corps was Driver.

Sam embarked from Australia to the Middle East in October 1914 where he served in the Middle East Expeditionary Force. He was hospitalised not long after arrival with German Measles and then with Influenza but recovered and was part of the Gallipoli campaign from April 1915. In March of 1916 he joined the British Expeditionary Force and was posted to France. At various times he was temporarily posted to the 2nd and 3rd Battalions as well as the Remount Depot. Sam survived the war relatively unscathed and returned to Australia in January 1919.

In April 1919 Western Suburbs Rugby League Club organised a welcome home smoko for its original Anzac members including; Westley Easterbrook, Sam Shaw, Alfred Rose, Eddie Griffiths and Cecil Foord. It was reported that they were all sound in health after four years active service and it was hoped that they would again serve the club with the sanction of the selectors. Sam Shaw played three more years in the Wests Second Grade team from 1919 to 1921.

Sam settled down after the war, marrying again in September 1919 and living the remainder of his life in the Croydon District. He maintained a close association with Wests over the years, becoming a trainer for future Wests teams and becoming involved with Committee work. Wests have always looked after their own and when Sam suffered a serious illness in 1945, the Club rallied around him and raised over 70 pounds, a substantial sum at the time, to help him through his illness.

Samuel Shaw passed away at Croydon in January 1951.

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