Reginald Leslie Showan

Reginald Leslie Showan was born in Porthill on 21st September 1896. He was the eldest son of Reginald Smith and Ada Showan, who would eventually have another 9 children. Reginald Snr. was originally from Burrington in Somerset and Ada was born in Longport.

He was christened, presumably at St. Margaret’s Church, on 1st November 1896.

He attended Wolstanton Church School (now St. Margaret’s Primary School) and this is where it is thought the below photo was taken in 1908 or 1909.

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From left to right – Ada Elaine Showan, Ian Malcolm Showan, Ruth Irene Showan & Reginald Leslie Showan 1

According to the 1901 Census the family were living at 110 Albert Terrace, Wolstanton and by the 1911 Census they were living at ‘Beverly’ Watlands Park Wolstanton.

On the 8th September 1914, aged 17, Reginald joined the army and served as Private Reginald Showan 13503, “D” Company, 9th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment. He served in an infantry division which, according to his niece, who normally dug trenches and prepared food. According to his army records he was in hospital with scabies from 10th – 18th September 1915 and was granted leave from 17th to 24th May 1916. In August 1916 he was back in hospital with an injury to his ankle received ‘in the field’.

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Ada Showan, Ian Showan (in Scout uniform) and Reginald on the day he joined up 2

Reginald Showan’s portraits in his civilian clothes and Army uniform presumably also on the day he joined up. 3

On 26th April 1917, “he was killed at Greenland Hill, South Arras on Battery Valley. He was in the infantry division that usually dug trenches and prepared food, but on this day a pioneer group from 37 infantry division was sent and Reg was killed outright. All his parents were told that he was ‘blown to bits’. This is what mum used to say.” 4. He was 20 years old.

War Diary 9th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment

Thursday 26th April 1917


AVC less one plat. Deepened(?) C.J. from N. strong Point(?) forward to GAYBELLE-PLOUVAIN Road. One platoon of C worked on Northern Tracks. One platoon of C worked on Southern Tracks. W with one plat of B worked on CLYDE and new communication trench from CHILI to CUBA. By day two plats of B Co worked on improvements at advanced DAO(?). CO took Lt NASH and 2nd Lt to examine E and A sides of rectangle in I. 1. a & b which a composite(?) co was to take over from 13th NRR(?) next day.

Casualties Killed 1 off. 2lt GRACIE, 1 OR. Wounded 3 offs. Col. MASON (ie gassed), Capt LANGDON, Capt. FERGUSON all remaining at Duty(?); OR 21, missing OR 11.

H E Falls Major for Lt Colonel


Reginald Showan was awarded the 1914 – 15 Star (awarded to men who served in 1914 & 1915), the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal. He has no known grave, but is commemorated at the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, the Wolstanton War Memorial, inside St. Margaret’s Church, by a candlestick in St. Andrew’s Church, on the Wolstanton Methodist Church Memorial and on our Memorial.

Link to his CWGC commemoration.

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Reginald Showan commemorated on the Arras Memorial 6

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Reginald Showan commemorated on the Wolstanton War Memorial

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Reginald Showan commemorated inside St. Margaret’s Church

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Reginald Showan commemorated on a candlestick paid for by his family in St. Andrew’s Church.

The inscription reads “Before God the soul of Reginald L. Showan, killed in action France April 26 1917”.

At the time of his death, his family were living at Birchfield, Southlands Avenue, Wolstanton.

  1. Photo of Reginald and his brother & sisters courtesy of his niece Gill Bagnall
  2. Photo of Reginald, his brother & mother courtesy of his niece Gill Bagnall
  3. Photos courtesy of his nephew Oliver Reynolds
  4. Gill Bagnall
  5. War Diary extract courtesy of the Staffordshire Regiment Museum
  6. Arras Memorial photo courtesy of Gill Bagnall