Stewart Loudoun-Shand

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Stewart Walter Loudoun-Shand
Stewart Walter Loudoun-Shand VC IWM Q 80572.jpg
Born 8 October 1879
Died 1 July 1916 (aged 36)
Near Fricourt, France
Buried at Norfolk Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1899-1916 
Rank Major
Unit Pembroke Yeomanry
The Yorkshire Regiment (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own)
Commands held 10th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own)
Battles/wars Second Boer War
World War I
Awards Victoria Cross

Major Stewart Walter Loudoun-Shand VC (8 October 1879 – 1 July 1916) was a British recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Ceylon but moved to South London for his schooling, he lived at 27 Alleyn Park Road Dulwich, and attended Dulwich College between 1891 and 1897 where he excelled at sport, especially Cricket. He was one of the ten children of John Loudoun Shand and his wife Lucy, and was the second of the five brothers. His father, who originated from Scotland, adopted his middle name Loudoun as the first part of a double-barrelled surname, and all members of the family followed suit. His father, John Loudoun Loudoun-Shand (died 2 February 1932 at Craigellie, Alleyn Park, Dulwich, aged 86 years) was a prominent plantation owner in what was then called Ceylon. Arriving in the Island in 1864 Mr. Loudoun-Shand did a lot of planting chiefly in the Dimbula and Dickoya districts and in 1879 and 1880 was elected Chairman of the Planters' Association of Ceylon in what was a difficult period. Known as "Silver-tongued Shand" due to his oratory prowess, in 1882 and 1884 he was Planting Member of the Legislative Council. He was also an Honorary Life Member of the Ceylon Association in London.[1] Stewart's mother died in September 1930[2] in Ceylon. She had travelled there in 1872 to be married.

Along with his four brothers, he attended Dulwich College. His eldest brother, William, followed his father into the planting business.[2] Alexander, the third brother, became a Commander in the Royal Australian Navy and was the head of the Royal Australian Naval College.[3] The youngest of the five brothers, Eric Loudoun-Shand was a rugby union international and recipient of the Military Cross. The fourth of Stewart's four brothers was C. B. Loudoun-Shand who resided Delta, Pussellawa for a while. He was known as 'Bosun' Loudoun-Shand and was the Colonel of the volunteer force 'The Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps' .

Stewart himself had begun his military career early. When the Second Boer War broke out in 1899 he immediately volunteered and served with the Pembroke Yeomanry as a lance corporal in South Africa.

Victoria Cross[edit]

He was 36 years old, and a temporary major in the 10th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own), British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 1 July 1916 near Fricourt, France, when Major Loudoun-Shand's company attempted to climb over the parapet to attack the enemy's trenches, they were met by very fierce machine-gun fire which temporarily stopped their progress. The major immediately leapt on the parapet, helped the men over it and encouraged them in every way until he was mortally wounded. Even then, he insisted on being propped up in the trench and went on encouraging his men until he died.[4]

Loudoun-Shand's grave

He is commemorated at nearby West Norwood Cemetery, and buried at Norfolk Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt CWGC near the Somme[5] His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.