A/S D. SHIELDS
FIRST NAMES: Douglas
RANK: Able Seaman
UNIT: H.M.S. Jupiter
MARITAL STATUS: Single
STATUS: Died (as a P.O.W.)
DATE OF DEATH: 1942
WHERE BURIED: Celebes Island
MEDALS: 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Italy Star, Victory Medal, Defence Medal
Douglas Shields was born in 1920, in Northallerton, to Mr and Mrs Shields and was brother to Doreen. Doug attended the Applegarth School and at the age of fourteen he worked for Walter Willsons in Northallerton High Street as a grocery delivery boy. Always a popular lad, he was easily recognisable with his blonde hair and 6' 3" stature.
In 1939, at the age of nineteen, Douglas volunteered for the Royal Navy. In 1940 he was involved in Operation Dynamo, the rescue of troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. Later in the war he was involved in the Italian campaign and in Atlantic convoy duties. In February 1942, Doug joined the destroyer HMS Jupiter, which sailed for the Timor Straits and the Java Sea.
On February 27th, ships of the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the United States Navy and the Dutch Navy, encountered a Japanese task force. A furious sea battle ensued which came to be known as the Battle of the Java Sea. The Japanese fleet out gunned and and out fought the Allies and many ships were sunk. The destroyer HMS Jupiter struck a mine and blew up. Several members of the crew, including Doug and his skipper, Lt/Commander Thew, managed to get onto a life raft drifting by. They made it to the safety of a nearby island, but unfortunately it was occupied by Japanese troops. They were all immediately taken into captivity. Douglas, along with many of his shipmates, endured all the cruelties of being held prisoner by the Japanese and he died in captivity.
Douglas Shields was buried in Moanga Island then after the war his body re-interred into a Commonwealth War Grave at Ambon in the Celebes Islands. He is also remembered on the Northallerton War Memorial and the All Saints Church Memorial.
Douglas was aged 22 years.