Ralph Shields

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Ralph Shields
Ralph Shields Australian Army enlistment.jpg
Shields in 1940.
Personal information
Full name Ralph Shields[1]
Date of birth 1892
Place of birth Newbiggin, England
Date of death 21 November 1944 (aged 52)[2]
Place of death Sandakan, Borneo[3]
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
0000–1913 Newbiggin Athletic
1913–1914 Choppington Alliance
1913–1914 Newcastle United 0 (0)
1914–1920 Huddersfield Town 45 (21)
1920–1921 Exeter City 19 (4)
1921–1922 Brentford 8 (1)
1922–1926 Sittingbourne
1926–1927 Blyth Spartans
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Ralph Shields (1892 – 21 November 1944) was an English professional football forward who played in the Football League for Huddersfield Town, Exeter City and Brentford.

Football career[edit]

As a young man, Ralph was a miner but he played for his local junior club Newbiggin Athletic, in the Wansbeck League.[4] In 1913 he was playing for Choppington Alliance when he was spotted by Newcastle United and was transferred to them for a fee of £40 on 30 October 1913.[4] Ralph never played for the first XI at Newcastle United, when in May 1914 Second Division club Huddersfield Town paid a £100 fee for his signature.[4] The following season, 1914–15, Ralph was Huddersfield Town leading goal scorer with 16 goals in 29 appearances.[5]

The season after World War I, 1919–20, he was part of the Huddersfield Town side which gained promotion from the Second Division to the First Division, appearing 13 times and scoring 3 goals.[4] In December 1920, Ralph was transferred to Exeter City in a part-exchange deal for £2,000, plus William Wright.[4] During the remainder of the 1920–21 season, he scored 4 goals in 19 appearances.[1] In August 1921, he was transferred to Brentford to play in the 1921–22 season,[1] appearing in 9 matches and scoring just one goal.[6] This was to be his last season in the Football League.[1] He then appeared for Sittingbourne in the Kent League for a number of seasons before moving back to the North East to play for Blyth Spartans in the North Eastern League.[1]

Personal life[edit]

As with many footballers during World War I, he signed up to serve and he did so as a bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery.[4] In October 1927, Ralph and his family emigrated to Australia to build a new life in Concord, New South Wales.[4] In the course of his service with the Australian Army Service Corps in Malaya during World War II, he was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army and transferred to the Sandakan Prisoner of War Camp in North Borneo and interred as a POW.[3] He died on 21 November 1944 and is buried at the Labuan War Cemetery in Malaysia.[2]

Career statistics[edit]

Club Season League FA Cup Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Huddersfield Town 1914–15[5] Second Division 28 16 1 0 29 16
1919–20[4] 13 3 1 1 14 4
1920–21[4] First Division 4 2 4 2
Total 45 21 2 1 47 22
Brentford 1921–22[6] Third Division South 8 1 1 0 9 1
Career total 53 22 3 1 56 23


  1. ^ a b c d e Joyce, Michael (2012). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Nottingham: Tony Brown. p. 263. ISBN 190589161X. 
  2. ^ a b Reading Room Manchester. "CWGC – Casualty Details". cwgc.org. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "NSW. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of NX57251 Private Ralph Shields, No. 2 Company, Australian Army Service Corps. He was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the ..." Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Threlfall-Sykes, David. "Huddersfield Town TWO NAMES ADDED TO TOWN'S 'ROLL OF HONOUR'". Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Huddersfield Town Squad 1914/15". Football and the First World War. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  6. ^ a b White, Eric, ed. (1989). 100 Years Of Brentford. Brentford FC. p. 366. ISBN 0951526200. 
  • 99 Years & Counting – Stats & Stories – Huddersfield Town History