Friday, 14 September 2018

G H Shields 78860

The following entry is from They Answered The CallClick here for the contents page.

Gordon Henderson SHIELDS

Service number: 78860.  Age: 35 years 9 months.  Enlisted: 5 Oct 1942.
Occupation: Launch proprietor.  Next of kin: (wife) Mrs May Shields.
Address on enlistment: Bribie Island.

 1945, Rathmines, N.S.W. An aerial view of RAAF Rathmines showing 
the hangars on shore with Catalina aircraft moored in the lake.[1]

Service Summary:
5 Oct 1942: Motor Boat Crew, No. 11 Squadron, R.A.A.F. Served at Evans Head, Rathmines and Sandgate. Gordon Shields was restricted to these areas as he was unfit for tropical service.

“No. 11 Squadron was formed as a general reconnaissance squadron at Richmond in New South Wales on 21 Sep 1939.[2]  In February 1942 No. 11 Squadron was withdrawn to RAAF Base Rathmines following the Japanese air attacks on Port Moresby. Due to the Catalina’s ability to travel large distances it continued to carry out patrols in the waters around New Guinea.[3]  Towards the end of 1942 the unit relocated to Cairns and commenced night raids against enemy shipping and submarines attempting to land supplies around Lae, Salamaua, and Finschafen. Unit Catalinas mined enemy harbours and dropped supplies to coastwatchers in the Solomons, New Britain, and New Ireland between April and July 1943.”[4]

4 Dec 1945: Discharged.

Life Summary:
Gordon Henderson Shields (1907-1972) born 28 Jan 1907 in Brisbane was the youngest son of Alfred Henderson Shields (1862-1953) and Harriet Dunn (1866-1934). He attended Bribie Island school in 1925. At age 18, he was a seaman with the Royal Australian Navy Reserve. Gordon Shields married May Weise in Sydney in 1943 (May Shields service number 94009) and their daughter Roslyn May Shields was born 17 Nov 1944.

After his military service, he started a barge service between Toorbul Point and Bribie Island, was a foundation member of the Bongaree Bowls Club and managed the Greenwood Tree Flats for two years. His boat shed at Bongaree was a landmark for many years.

Gordon Shields’ boat shed at Bongaree, 1946.[5]

Gordon Shields had been associated with Bribie Island for almost three decades when he moved to Victoria in the mid-1950s. He died in Melbourne on 25 May 1972, aged 65.

[1] Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial P0092.008
[3] History of the Rathmines RAAF Flying Boat Base
[5] Photo: Bribie Island Historical Society BBLM01_00 Betty LaMacchia photo collection

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