Lieut Ervin David “Molly” Shaw

Lieut Ervin David “Molly” Shaw

Birth
Alcolu, Clarendon County, South Carolina, USA
Death 9 Jul 1918 (aged 23)
France
Burial Grandcourt, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France
Memorial ID 94362664 · View Source
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He was born in Alcolu, near Sumter. When in high school (Sumter High class of 1911...class pic, HERE) in Sumter, he often exclaimed "hot tamale!", which lead to his nickname ("Molly") which stuck with him until his death. A family photo of him at about age 12-13 with family, HERE.

Ervin was doted on by his grandfather Alderman. College education was at Davidson and U. of Georgia. He was sort of a dare-devil who drove race cars at the race track in Sumter, S. C., USA, which his grandfather (D. W. Alderman) built for him. He enlisted in the U. S. Army in June 1917 (our army had only 55 airplanes at the time) and got some pilot training. In April 1918, he requested an honorable discharge in order to accept a commission as 1st Lt., Signal Corps, Royal Canadian Air Service. There was no U. S. Air Force, yet, for WWI. Then, in England, he was attached to the 48th Squadron, RAF, British Expeditionary Force. In combat, he is credited with shooting down two enemy aircraft. Well behind enemy lines on a scouting mission, he and his British observer were greatly outnumbered by enemy scout planes; and they perished in battle.

The USA later had the Army Air Forces [there was no independent US Air Force until 1947]). He is buried in a common grave with Sgt. T. W. Smith in Regina Trench Cemetery maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Courcellette, France.

From a Sumter Daily Item article after the naming of Shaw AFB is this paragraph: "A movement to name Sumter's new Army Airfield after Lt. Shaw was started at a reunion of his high school class in May 1941. The campaign was based on the fact that he was the first Sumter man to be killed in action and the only Sumter County aviator to die in combat. There were three candidates (all deserving the honor) with Shaw's name being selected by the War Department. Shaw Field (now Shaw Air Force Base) was activated in November 1941, and the first class of cadets arrived for basic flight training Dec. 15, 1941."

Being the first Sumterite killed in the "Great War" & the only Sumter Aviator to die in combat, Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter County, S. C. was named after Ervin, the base being established in June 1941. The Shaw AFB Wikipedia write up area on him is HERE.


Family Members


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  • Created by: Ervin Shaw
  • Added: 28 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 94362664
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut Ervin David “Molly” Shaw (30 Sep 1894–9 Jul 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 94362664, citing Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, Grandcourt, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France ; Maintained by Ervin Shaw (contributor 47632367) .