A MEMORIAL service will be held in Fairford tomorrow to celebrate the life of senior army officer Lieutenant Colonel Robert Shaw, who killed himself last summer.

The 52-year-old shot himself in a field near his mother’s home in Fairford last June after struggling with work pressures and staff cuts.

He was discovered in his car with a gun and a Bible on his lap by his widow, Angela.

Born and raised in Gloucestershire, Robert was well-known in Fairford and described as charming and gentle with a natural curiosity.

His decision to join the military was not difficult as his father served in the Royal Navy. Robert signed up with the Irish Guards in1982 and leapt into his new role enthusiastically, delighted with his new career and military family.

Lt Shaw progressed through the army, serving in Germany, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Berlin and Belize, as well as on ceremonial duties in London.

On his return to Britain after an injury, he rekindled his friendship with Angela Garioni, who he later married in Florence at St Mark’s English Church.

The reception was held in a Tuscan countryside villa near Siena. After his marriage he spent much of his career in Cyprus with his family, which grew to include twins Olivia and Henry, who were later followed by Seymour.

Outside work, field sports were Robert’s passion. Described as a countryman at heart, he inherited his father’s passion for fishing and loved nothing more than to spend holidays on the riverbank.

A tribute from his family this week said: “His final appointment was as commanding officer of the Warminster Support unit, described as a difficult job with a range of responsibilities. Despite his workloads growing as resources were tightened the devoted, father, husband and serviceman remained vigilant.

“Robert served the Irish Guards for over 30 years and always felt that the regiment was like a family to him.

“His wife, Angela, was his greatest love, and his children, Olivia, Henry and Seymour, were his proudest achievement.”

A memorial service for Robert is tomorrow, Thursday, March 27, at 2pm at St Mary’s Church, Fairford. All are welcome.