Shields, Ralph

Birth Date

13th June 1892


Newbiggin, Northumberland



Biographical Text

Having served in the First World War, and with experience at Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town, Ralph Shields featured for Exeter City during 1920/21 before departing for Brentford. Emigrating to Australia in 1927 he joined the Australian military at an advanced age and died as a prisoner of war in Borneo in 1944.

Ralph had been on the books at Newcastle United for the 1913/14 season but didn’t make the league team before moving to Huddersfield Town in 1914 where he scored 21 times in 45 league starts. Enlisting in Royal Field Artillery during the First World War, Ralph returned to the Yorkshire club afterwards before joining Exeter City in December 1920 as part of the deal that took William Wright in the opposite direction (the fee for Wright was believed to be £3,000 whilst Shields reportedly cost £500). 
Arriving at St James' Park a few weeks before Christmas, Ralph had already scored for the reserves when he made his first-team debut on Christmas Day 1920 at Plymouth Argyle. Never really establishing himself he moved on to Brentford prior to the 1921/22 season before dropping out of the Football League to sign firstly for Sittingbourne and then Blyth Spartans.After little more than a year back in the North-East, Ralph and his family emigrated to Concord in New South Wales. Enlisting at a advanced age with the Australian Army Service Corps in World War II, he was captured by the Japanese army and died in the Sandakan Prisoner of War Camp in North Borneo on 21 November 1944. He is rembered on a plaque unveiled at St James' Park in August 2017. See also his entry in the Killed in Action section of this archive.







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