Thomas Colyer Richardson Shields

Company A 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

4th Infantry Division

KIA 06/08/1944

 

 

Thomas C. Shields was born in Glen Allan, Washington County, Misissippi on July 19, 1917.
His religion was listed as Protestant.

He was known by his nickname of "T.C." and was one of three children.
His father left the family when the children were young and all three took the last name of
their stepfather after their mother Mary remarried.

Shields attended E.E. Bass Junior-Senior High School in Greenville, Mississippi.

He attended Louisiana State University (LSU) and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1937.
While at the University he was a member of Kappa Alpha Fraternity and was a member
of the Men's Interfraternity Council. He was also a member of Chi Sigma, a professional
journalism fraternity at the University. He was the editor of Reveille the daily student newspaper.

 

 

The entry for Thomas C. Shields in Gumbo the yearbook
of Louisiana State University 1936

 

 

Shields was a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps at Louisiana State University. In his junior year
he was Supply Sergeant of that organization and in his Senior year was a Captain and the S-2 Intelligence Officer
for the R.O.T.C. program at LSU.

 

The Cadet Regimental Staff of the R.O.T.C. program at Louisiana State University 1937.
Cadet Captain Thomas C. Shields is marked by the red arrow.

Photo from Gumbo the Louisiana State University yearbook for 1937
Courtesy of Ashley Skellie

 

 

Thomas C. Shields as a
Cadet Captain in R.O.T.C.
at Louisiana State University
1937

Photo from Gumbo
the Louisiana State University
yearbook for 1937

     

 

 

Shields had worked for the Shreveport Times and Morning Advocate newspapers and for two years
after his graduation he was an instructor in journalism at LSU. While he was an instructor at LSU he was
a member of Omicron Delta Kappa a National Honorary Leadership fraternity.

Shields was offered a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry in the Officers Reserve Corps on June 7, 1940
which he accepted on June 17 of that year. He served on active duty from August 4 - 24, 1940.

With the build up of the Army immediately prior to America's entry into the war he was recalled to active duty
on February 23, 1941.

On December 8, 1941 2nd Lieutenant Thomas C. Shields married Frances Boult of Vicksburg, Mississippi
in a ceremony at Ashland Place Methodist Chapel in Mobile, Alabama. Shields' brother John who was a
Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps at the time was his best man.

Thomas C. Shields was given a promotion to the temporary rank of 1st Lieutenant in the Army of the United States (A.U.S.)
on February 1, 1942.

On July 1, 1942 he was offered a commision in the Regular Army as a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry
which he accepted.

On January 29, 1943 Shields received a promotion to the temporary rank of Captain (A.U.S.).

As its Commanding Officer he led Company A 22nd Infantry ashore in the second assault wave
on Utah Beach in Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944.

Captain Thomas C. Shields was killed in action on June 8, 1944 during 1st Battalion's attack
on the German fortified battery at Crisbecq in Normandy, France.

He received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions on that day.

Bill Boice, in his History of the 22nd Infantry in World War II, described the action:

 

The fortress of Crisbecq had not been completed by the Germans, but
it was the most formidable arrangement of pillboxes on Utah Beach. This
fortress of concrete and steel, carefully camouflaged, was connected with surrounding
fortresses by partially finished underground passageways. It was an
excellent observation point and it was a constant source of information, by
means of a deeply laid underground cable to the German defenses and command
at Cherbourg. It was this fortress, surrounded by barbed wire, protected by
areas thoroughly mined, that the First Battalion was to attack with unseasoned
foot troops. Company A, led by Captain Tom Shields, led the attack, and as it
approached the fortress, met extreme resistance immediately. Captain Shields
led the company from the front, and it was during this attack that he was mortally
wounded. The Germans were meeting the attack in force and were coming toward
the Company A position. Captain Shields ordered his men to withdraw, and when
they tried to carry him with them in order that he might receive medical treatment,
he ordered them to withdraw without him and immediately called down
artillery fire on his own position, and thus lost his life in order to help save his company.
It was personal bravery of the highest order, but it was more; it was a
concern for the lives of other brave men.

 

 

Above: the citation for the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain Thomas C. Shields.
The authorization for his award is found in:

Headquarters, European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army General Orders No. 124 (1944)

Citation courtesy of Paul A. Harris, Ph.D.
Associate Director & Professor of Political Science Auburn University, AL

 

 

 

 

Captain Thomas C. Shields' decorations

 

 

 

 

The mother of Thomas C. Shields, Mary Clayton Barwick Shields, was an educator
in Mississippi and in her later years gave an interview which is stored at the Mississippi State
University Archives.

Immediately below: the transcription of part of that interview in which Mary talks about
the day she was notified her son Thomas C. Shields had been killed in action:

Transcription courtesy of Ashley Skellie

 

 

 

 

Thomas C. Shields was buried in the temporary U.S. Military Cemetery
Sainte Mere-Eglise #1 at Carentan, France and some time later
his remains were returned to the United States where he was
reinterred in Mississippi.

 

Services Held For Capt. T.C. Shields

Services for Captain Thomas C. Shields were held at the First Methodist Church here Thursday morning
at 10 o'clock by the Rev. Jeff Cunnigham. Burial was in the Greenfield Cemetery at Glen Allan with military
services conducted by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and National Guard.

He leaves his mother, Mrs. Mary B. Shields of Greenville; a sister, Miss Clayton Shields of New York City;
a brother, Major John Shields; a daughter, Susan Frances; and his grandmother, Mrs. H.J.E. Barwick of Glen Allan.

From The Delta-Democrat Times, Greenville, Mississippi, Friday April 8, 1948

 

 

Burial:
Greenfield Cemetery
Glen Allan
Washington County
Mississippi, USA
Plot: M412

 

Grave marker for Thomas C. Shields

Photo by: Nancy Coleman from the Find A Grave website

 

 

 

 

Biographical information on Thomas C. Shields courtesy of Ashley Skellie, grand-niece of
Private First Class Clarence E. Stewart of Company A 22nd Infantry who was killed in action
in Captain Thomas C. Shields' Command during the attacks against Crisbecq in June 1944.

 

Top photo of Thomas C. Shields from Gumbo the Louisiana State University yearbook for 1937
Courtesy of Ashley Skellie

 

 

 

 

 

 


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