ELECTRICIANS MATE THIRD
CLASS WILLIAM A. RAWS was born in 1918 in Pennsylvania to
Alfred & Grace Raws. He was the second son, coming after
brother Alfred. By 1930 the family owned a home on Washington avenue in
Somerdale NJ. The elder Raws worked as a sheet metal mechanic in a metal
shop. William Raws was a 1937 graduate of Haddon Heights High School.
USS Staff (AM-114) was an Auk-class minesweeper acquired by the United States Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.
Staff was laid down on November 28, 1941 by the American Ship Building Company at Cleveland, Ohio; launched on
June 17, 1942; and commissioned on Veterans Day, 1942, Lieutenant
Commander R. T. McDaniel, USNR, in command.
USS Staff completed fitting out at the Boston Navy Yard on January 9, 1943 and reported for shakedown a few days later. In late March, she sailed in the screen of convoy UGS-6 bound for North Africa. The convoy arrived at Mers El Kébir on
April 13, and Staff remained there until the 20th. She joined other minesweepers in conducting antisubmarine patrols off the Gulf of Arzeu until the end of May. During the first three weeks in June,
USS Staff swept mines off the Gulf of Oran, returning to the Mers El Kébir anchorage each night.
Between June 14 and July 1, 1943 USS Staff divided her time between patrols, exercises, and mine sweeps; then joined Task Force 85 at anchor in Mers El Kébir. On the 5th, the task force sortied and headed for Sicily. Staff sailed in the screen and arrived off the Sicilian coast on
July 9. During the invasion, the minesweeper was assigned patrol duties off Scoglitti. She patrolled, sank mines, and duelled with shore batteries between
July 9 and July 16. On the 16th, during an engagement with shore batteries, Staff struck a mine and sustained extensive damage in the forward engine room and suffered a number of casualties.
William Raws was among those killed in
action by the exploding mine.
William Raws was one of
six members of Haddon Heights High School's class of 1937 to lose their
lives while serving in the United States armed forces during World War
II, the others being William
C. Tait, Edgar
S. Crouthamel, Warren
Stafford Jr., Oscar
Kline, and Oliver
F. Starr Jr.. Another member of the Class of 1939, Carlton
R. Rouh, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.