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Obituary: Angus Shaw, journalist

• Angus Shaw, journalist. Born: 2 April, 1907, in Glasgow. Died: 11 October, 2010, in Erskine Hospital, aged 103.

Angus Shaw was one of Scotland's most renowned journalist: he was, for sure, one of its longest-serving.

He firstly was on the staff of Glasgow's Evening News until it closed in 1957 and after a spell as news editor of the Sunday Mail he joined, for the rest of his career, the Evening Times.

He served all three with much distinction and covered many of the most important events in Scotland throughout these years.

He did so with an honesty and professionalism that he demonstrated throughout his career and which he expected from the cub reporters whom he trained.

On a personal level he took much pride in his daughter, Winnie Shaw, who played golf for Britain and was one of Scotland's most famous female tennis stars.

For two consecutive years she gained a place in the quarter finals at Wimbledon and Shaw keenly followed her career, initially watching his daughter win the British Junior Hardcourt championships at Wimbledon in 1964, the year in which he had driven her to many Scottish junior championships - many of which she won.

Angus Shaw was born into a distinguished Glasgow family: his father had served as provost and had opened the main stand of Ibrox Stadium.

After school Shaw joined the Evening News in Glasgow and showed an immediate proficiency in following up stories and writing them accurately and with insight.

In those early years he covered such epic Scottish events as James Logie Baird's relaying, from one room to another, the first television pictures and the launching of the Queen Mary in Clydeside in 1934,

During the Second World War Shaw saw service on the dangerous Murmansk convoy run that took much-needed supplies to the Soviet Union.

The seas were heavily patrolled by the German fleet and U-boats and the atrocious weather conditions made the journeys so treacherous.

Shaw was demobbed with the rank lieutenant commander.

Shaw returned to Glasgow and the Evening News's newsdesk. He had lost none of his ability to spot a story or to recognise a budding young novelist.

In 1955, Alistair MacLean, then a teacher in Rutherglen, had written of his war experiences in his first novel, HMS Ulysses.

The book was not that well received but Shaw, well knowing of the dangers on the "Soviet run", recommended the book, praising the way in which it genuinely captured the terrors of those hazardous voyages.

Shaw became much involved with reporting some notorious murder trials of the era. He followed the complexities of the "Bible John" murders which first hit the headlines in the 1950s.

That decade also saw Shaw covering the saga of the serial killer, Peter Manuel, who was dubbed the Beast of Birkenshaw by the press and is known to have killed seven people in Lanarkshire.

Then came the case of Oscar Slater, who had been sentenced to death in 1909 for committing murder in Glasgow.

The sentence was commuted to life in prison and it was only as a result of a campaign led by the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle that the authorities, after almost 20 years, reconsidered the case.

When Slater was cleared in the High Court in Edinburgh Shaw made sure he was in the same carriage as Slater going back to Glasgow. Shaw got a major scoop.

Shaw always maintained a charming manner towards his staff and behaved to those he was interviewing with a gentlemanly courtesy.

He dressed in smart suit and tie - except on a Saturday, when he allowed himself to appear in the office in a blazer.

One of his great sadnesses was the death of his daughter. Winnie Shaw (later Wooldridge) is considered one of Scotland's finest sporting women.

She was inducted into the Scottish Hall of Fame in 2002. Winnie was a major player on the ladies' tennis circuit and lost to Margaret Court in the quarter finals in 1970 at Wimbledon and to Rosie Casals at the same stage the following year.

In her 40s she was diagnosed with cancer and, in 1992, died at the age of 45.

But Winnie proved a great joy to her father and showed her own - and her father's - pride in being Scottish when a referee made the mistake of introducing her as "Shaw, representing England".

Winnie whispered in his ear politely but firmly: "I'm Scottish and I'm representing Great Britain, not England."

Shaw, who moved firstly to live in Skermorlie, before residing in Erskine Hospital, was predeceased by his wife Winnie (also a tennis champion) and daughter Winnie.

He is survived by his son Angus, a master mariner, who lives in Chile.

 
 
 

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