Ralph Lawrence Shields
USNR (6121971). American
|Born||5 Jan 1921||Dayton, OH|
Roster information listed for Ralph Lawrence Shields
|Ship||Type||Rank / role||Attacked on||Boat|
|African Star||Steam merchant||Gunner’s Mate Third Class||12 Jul 1943||U-172 (1)|
Ralph Lawrence Shields later told his family that he had stood watch until midnight the night before African Star was sunk and went to the galley for a donut and milk before turning in around at 2 AM. A few hours later, he was rocked right out of his bed wearing only bell bottomed blue jeans. No shirt, no shoes or socks. Ralph recalled walking on the walls of the ship to escape as the ship had taken a list. He said that the U-boat commander addressed the lifeboats and explained, thru an interpreter, that he had spent time in New York City before the war and that he would spare their lives if they did not signal or make any noises for three hours. They abided by his orders and Ralph always was truly grateful that the commander of the U-boat spared his life as he was certain he would have been killed. After being returned to Rio de Janeiro for a week or so, he always spoke very fondly of the Brazilians who put them up in Rio de Janeiro for a week or so, saying that the young Brazilian women were quite taken with the US sailors and he had such a wonderful time while waiting to be redeployed.
- Personal communication
Do you have additional information on this person?
If you wish to add information to this person the following would be helpful (if missing): nationality, name, dob, place of birth, service (merchant marine, ...), rank or job on board specific ship. We have place for a photo as well if provided. You can send the information here.