"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends"
Who is Captain William Hamilton Shaw?
William Hamilton Shaw (Bill Shaw) was born on June 5, 1922 in Pyongyang, Korea where his parents, William Earl Shaw and Adeline Hamilton Shaw were Christian missionaries with the Methodist Church. Young Bill grew up in Pyongyang with his parents and two sisters, Mary Jane and Roberta. He graduated from Pyongyang Foreign High School (PYFS) in 1939 and entered Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio in the fall of that year. Nearing the end of their colonial rule, the imperialist Japanese occupiers began to expel Christian missionaries from Korea, and Bill's parents and sisters joined him in Ohio two years later.
Upon graduation from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1943, Bill Shaw married his college sweetheart Juanita Robinson Shaw, completed his Naval officer training and served as a PT Boat executive officer (PT 518) in the European theater in the last two years of World War II. (His PT Boat service is chronicled by the last surviving crew member Kenneth L. Campbell on a website titled The Story of PT-518.)
When the Republic of Korea became a sovereign nation in 1948, Bill Shaw returned to Korea with his wife Juanita and young son William Robinson Shaw with the U.S. Department of Navy to assist in establishing the Korean Naval Academy at Chinhae. In October of 1949, his youngest son Stephen was born in Seoul. Soon thereafter Bill and his family returned to America where Bill entered the doctoral program in East Asian and Korean studies at Harvard University with the intention of obtaining his Ph.D and returning with his family to Korea to serve as Christian missionaries. He was just settling into his doctoral studies when the Korean War broke out in June of 1950.
Although agonizing to balance his responsibilities to his wife and two young sons with his desire to complete his doctoral studies, Bill clearly regarded Korea as his homeland together with America. Writing to his parents about the decision he must make, Bill Shaw told them he could not in good conscience return to Korea as a Christian missionary in peacetime if he was not first willing to be there to help the Koreans defend their freedom in time of war.
Bill rejoined the Navy and returned to Korea. Being fluent in the Korean language and geography, he was immediately assigned to the staff of General Douglas MacArthur as a Naval intelligence officer. Having led training cruises along the west coast of Korea during his time at the Korean Naval Academy, Bill served as a close aid to the General during the Inchon invasion. Although his Naval mission was complete with the successful recapture of Inchon, Bill Shaw volunteered to lead intelligence gathering missions behind enemy lines in the push to retake Seoul. On September 22, 1950 he was killed in action by an enemy sniper while leading a patrol of marines as they approached NokponRee over the Han River.
Although it has since been relocated, a monument commemorating his sacrifice for the Korean people was later erected by Dr. Lak-Jun "George" Paik, 42 other Korean friends and 9 organizations on this site. Days before the Inchon invasion, Bill Shaw wrote his parents telling them that while he could reveal no details of his mission, he was absolutely certain he was exactly where God wanted him to be in helping the Korean people defend their freedom.
When William H. Shaw the only son of Rev. William E. Shaw was killed in action, family and friends started a fund raising campaign to build a chapel to commemorate the dedication of his life for his Korean friends. The new chapel was built on Moksan hill in December of 1956. A dedication service was held on Easter of 1957. Rev. William E. Shaw reported that no fewer than 5,955 people had donated $14,500 to the church fund. Pictured below is the original William Hamilton Shaw Commemoration Chapel at Moksan hill. Mokwon University Methodist Church (MUMC) held the first service just at the Commemoration Chapel on September 24, 1978. The church has since served the public and as the University Chapel.
A photo and commemorative plaque in the entrance to the Chapel reads: Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.
Photo 1. William Hamilton Shaw Commemoration Chapel founded at Moksan hill in December of 1956.
In addition to the Chapel, Rev. William E. Shaw was devoted to the development of the 'Methodist Preachers's Refresher Institute, MOKJAKWAN' into the Daejon Methodist Seminary(DMS) (later becoming part of Mokwon University) supported by Mrs. Shepard who donated $6,000 for the foundation of the Institute in 1954. Although the original Chapel was destroyed by fire in 1988, it has been rebuilt into a beautiful new University Chapel on its original site. The growth of Daejon Methodist Seminary into the present prestigious Mokwon University and University Chapel that has become the cradle of religious faith for Mokwon students, all originated in no small part, from the sacrifice of Captain William Hamilton Shaw who voluntarily returned to Korea in 1950 and gave his life for his friends in this country. After the Korean War, his father, Rev. William E. Shaw and his mother Adeline Hamilton Shaw lived in Daejon, devoting their lives to teaching at Daejon Methodist Seminary and to working with Korean War widows in the Daejon community until their retirement in 1962, after serving some forty years as Methodist missionaries in Korea.
In 1956, Captain Shaw's widow, Juanita Robinson Shaw returned to Korea with her two young sons William R. Shaw and Stephen R. Shaw, where she served for the next twelve years as a Methodist missionary assigned to Seoul. In the early years, Juanita Shaw undertook intensive Korean language training and served as a teacher at Seoul Foreign School. In the later years, after obtaining her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at Case Western University in 1963, Juanita Shaw taught social work classes at Ehwa Womens University and established the Department of Medical Social Work at Severance Hospital in Seoul, before finally leaving Korea in 1968. She is now retired and living in Ohio.
Photo 2. Shaw family in Seoul, Korea 1949 (from left) Rev. William E. Shaw, Juanita Robinson Shaw, William Robinson Shaw, William Hamilton Shaw, and Adeline Hamilton Shaw.
In 1977, Captain Shaw's oldest son William R. Shaw completed the same Ph.D. program in East Asian History and Languages at Harvard University that Captain Shaw had just begun in 1950 when the Korean War broke out. Dr. William R. Shaw also became fluent in the Korean language and culture, returning to Korea at various times on Fulbright and Danforth fellowships, and in 1981-82, taught Korean Legal History at Seoul National University Law School. Dr. William R. Shaw published two books on Korea, "Legal Norms in a Confucian State" (Center for Korean Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1981) and "Human Rights in Korea." (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1991.) He passed away in 1993. Captain Shaw's youngest son Stephen R. Shaw was born in Seoul, Korea in 1949 and graduated from Seoul Foreign High School in 1967. He currently lives in Ohio where he has served as a Judge of the Third District Court of Appeals of Ohio since 1987.
PS #1. William Hamilton Shaw and his parents Rev. William E. Shaw and Adeline Hamilton Shaw are buried on Korean soil at the Foreigners Missionary Cemetery, Yanghwajin, Seoul.
PS #2. Many more details about Captain William Hamilton Shaw's life and those of many other Christian missionaries and foreigners who dedicated their lives to their Korean friends during the Korean War can be found in the book "Their War for Korea" by Allan R. Millett, (Brassey's Inc., Washington D.C. 2002.) (Also, search: <PT 518> for a website "The Story of PT-518" and photos of Captain Shaw's PT Boat service by former crew member Kenneth Campbell.)
PS #3. Captain Shaw's widow, Juanita R. Shaw and youngest son, Stephen R. Shaw would like to express their deepest gratitude and appreciation to the members of the Mokwon University Methodist Church and especially to Professor Emeritus Dr. Hee-Joong Yun of Mokwon University for the extraordinary love, care and effort he has put into establishing this website honoring the memory of the Shaw family in Korea.
E-mail from Stephen R. Shaw
From: "Shaw" <email@example.com>
To: "Hee-Joong Yun" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 4:33 AM
Subject: William Hamilton Shaw Biography
Dear Dr. Yun, thank you for your patience - I have today sent the new draft biography of William Hamilton Shaw for the Chapel Website. I hope you will be pleased with the new biography and that it will be of interest to all those in Korea who wish to read it. I have tried to follow your original text wherever possible and hope it will be worthy of your fine website. My mother and I deeply appreciate your efforts in constructing the website and we both very much wish to thank you and the entire congregation of Mokwon University Methodist Church for your continued interest and support of our family's work in Korea after so many years. So I hope you will allow us to offer our public acknowledgement of your work in our PS notes to the biography.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to provide some assistance in drafting the new biography. My mother and I consider it a great honor to be part of this website and to still be regarded as part of the Mokwon Church community. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to assist you in this project. Best regards, Stephen R. Shaw.
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