Name: Juan Matthew Shearer


Birth Date: 1893 Where: Paisley, Scotland
Died: 10th June, 1918 Where: Morlancourt, France
Place of Enlistment: Keswick, South Australia Age: 22
Serial Number: 2015 Battalion: 27th, 2nd M.G.C.
Rank on Enlistment: Private Rank on Discharge/Death: Private

Awards: 1914 - 15 Star, British War Medal 1914 - 1920, Victory Medal,


Photograph Shearer

Service Details:



9 July

1915                      Enlisted

28 July

1915                      Embarked from Adelaide


1915                      Disembarked Egypt

1 Jan.

1916                      Taken On Strength

21 March

1916                      France

6/7 June

1916                      Trench Raid

25 June

1916                      Wounded, Pozieres

29 April

1917                      Returned to field


1917                      Battle of Bullecourt (Hindenburg Line)


1917                      Bapaume


1917                      Cassel

18 September

1917                      Ypres


1917                      Broodseine & Passchendale

26 October

1917                      Battle of Passchendale (Ypres)


1917                      Red Lodge

20 April

1918                      Ville Sur-Ancre


1918                      Morlancourt

10 June

1918                      Wounded, Morlancourt

10 June

1918                      Died, Morlancourt, France





Biographical Details:

Juan Matthew Shearer is a nom de Plume for James Matthew Sheerin.  James was actually born in Penrith NSW to Alexander Sheerin and Sarah Hall, in 1893. He was one of five children (two boys and three girls) who were deserted by their father and then later given to the care of the Salvation Army by their mother.  She later married George McBrain.  James, unable to forgive his mother, enlisted as Juan Shearer and nominated a sister as Next of Kin so that his mother could not claim a pension should he be killed. After his death James’ mother produced a Statutory Declaration to prove her relationship to him and was awarded a pension despite James’ wishes.
James Sheerin enlisted in the 3rd Reinforcement of the 27th Battalion in July 1915. His unit transferred to Egypt for training and he was eventually Taken On Strength in January 1916. Two months later he transferred to the 7th Brigade’s 2nd Machine Gun Battalion. It was as a Machine Gunner that James was attached to the Right Trench Party for the Raid.
In July 1916 James suffered a Gun Shot Wound to the Dorsum Penis.  He was transferred to England where while recovering he was charged with for a number of misdemeanours, including AWL, which all resulted in detention and Fines.
It was almost a year before James was able to return to France, in April 1917. Over the next 14 months he was in the thick of action but still managed to be charged with drunkenness and being AWL. In June 1918 James was killed at Morlancourt. In a Red Cross report Cpl McPherson stated “Pte. Shearer was killed instantly by machine gun fire on 10th June near Villers Bretonneux: I saw the cross for his grave.”
James’s body was never recovered and his name appears on a wall at Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France.
James’s service medals, along with the Memorial Scroll and Memorial Plaque were presented to his mother. James’s younger brother William Sheerin also enlisted under an assumed name in World War 1. He survived the war.

27th Battalion War Diary Report of June Raid

This diay entry reads: Heavy shelling by our artillery and raid by 26th & 28th Bns. Some retaliation by enemy & some damage to our front trenches. 2187 Lce Cpl Lewis CB killed – shell shock.