Captain Hugh Shaw was awarded the Victoria Cross for his action on 24th Jan 1865 at Nukumaru, New Zealand. He commanded a party of men ordered to do picquet duty half a mile away from the camp. When they were fired on by Maoris they took cover in a ditch but a wounded man was left out in the open. It was a dangerous place to be but Shaw asked for volunteers to help him retrieve the soldier. Four men accompanied him to where the man lay and he was hoisted onto the officer's back and brought to safety. None of the men were injured despite the heavy fire of the enemy. They all received medals for valour and Shaw was gazetted for the VC on 28th Nov 1865.
Hugh Shaw was born in Madras on 4th Feb 1839, the son of a medical officer, and joined the 18th Royal Irish Regiment in May 1855. He was appointed adjutant of the 2nd Battalion from 1859 to 1864 and served with them in the 3rd Maori War. He transferred to the 1st Battalion to serve in India and Afghanistan during the war of 1879. He was appointed commanding officer of the 1st Battalion in May 1883, a position that he held for 4 years, during which time they went to Egypt for the Nile Expedition of 1884-5. He reached the rank of Major-General and was appointed a CB. He died in Southsea, Hampshire on 25th Aug 1904.
The painting depicts him in his regimental colonel's uniform with his medals; the CB, the VC, the New Zealand Medal. the India General Service medal, the Egypt Medal and the Khedive's Star. The gold and crimson striped sash was worn by officers in levee order.
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