CHIEF QUARTERMASTER'S MATE JAMES LEWIS SHAW was born in New Jersey in 1918 to Samuel J. and Daisy Shaw, who had emigrated from England to the United States with their son John in 1912. James Shaw was the third child, with sister Dorothy coming in between the two brothers. By 1920 the Shaw family had purchased a home at 42 North 25th Street in Camden NJ, and were members of St. Wilfrid's Episcopal Church on Westfield Avenue at Dudley Street. After attending Cramer Junior High School in Camden, James Lewis Shaw graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School on Federal Street in 1937.
James Shaw had enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve while still in high school, in August of 1934. He re-enlisted in 1938, and was called to active duty in May of 1941. James Shaw participated in the amphibious assaults at Casablanca and Salerno. He returned to the United States to become a crewmember on a brand new attack transport, the USS HENRICO.
The USS HENRICO (APA-45) is named for Henrico County, Virginia and was formerly the SS SEA DARTER. Built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation of Pascagoula, Mississippi, in 1942/1943, the Sea Darter was converted to an attack transport with accommodations for a division staff by the Bethlehem Steel Company of Hoboken, New Jersey and was commissioned the USS HENRICO on 26 November 1943, Commander John H. Willis, USN Commanding. On 3 December 1943 the ship reported to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet for duty with Transport Division ELEVEN.
On 27 January 1944 HENRICO joined Task Unit 20.2.1 and on 11 February proceeded to the United Kingdom with elements of the Headquarters Division Command, Sixth Armored Division, 128th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, and the 50th Armored Infantry Battalion embarked.
In England she participated in rehearsal landings preparatory to the invasion of Europe. On 28 May 1944 during a heavy air attack in Portland, England the HENRICO fired her guns in anger for the first time.
D-DAY, 6 June 1944 found the HENRICO a part of the assault force which landed troops over the EASY RED section of OMAHA Beach, Normandy. Following the landings at Normandy the ship proceeded to the Mediterranean and participated in the landing at Baie De Pompelonne, Southern France in August. September and October were spent shuttling troops and cargo from England to Southern France and Italy.
In October 1944 the ship returned to the United States and entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for repairs. Upon completion of repairs, in December 1944 HENRICO proceeded to Leyte in the Philippine Islands via the Panama Canal and San Diego. At Leyte the ship made preparations for the invasion of Okinawa. On 18 March 1945 Captain WILLIS was relieved by Captain W.C. France, USN as Commanding Officer.
From 21 March until the evening of 2 April 1945 HENRICO participated in the invasion of Okinawa. While proceeding to night retirement about four miles from Kerama Retto Harbor, Okinawa, the ship was hit by a "Francis" twin engine Kamikaze Bomber. The kamikaze with his bombs struck the starboard side of the Navigation Bridge causing extensive damage. Chief Shaw was on the bridge directing anti-aircraft fire. Two 250 pound bombs penetrated two deck levels and exploded on the main deck, resulting in fires and flooding that were not brought under control until 2100. Two hours later the ship was taken in tow by the USS SUFFOLK (AKA-69) to Kerama Retto Harbor. As a result of the attack, thirty-seven Navy and fourteen Army personnel were killed including the Transport Division Commander, the Commanding Officer, and the Troop Commander. Lieutenant W. D. Craig, USNR, the Executive Officer had assumed command.
Chief Shaw was one of those killed. He was survived by his parents, and his wife, Thelma Irene Shaw, of 42 North 25th Street in Camden NJ. He had previously been awarded the Bronze Star, and was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.
James Lewis Shaw was brought home to New Jersey and buried at Locustwood Memorial Park in Delaware Township (present day Cherry Hill) NJ
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