Helen’s Bay Presbyterian Church
In A History of Helen’s Bay Presbyterian Church compiled by Margaret A K Garner in 1958 she commented that ‘the 1914 – 1918 War years were difficult for the Helen’s Bay congregation’.
She went on to say, ‘there has been considerable difficulty in compiling a complete Roll of Honour and the list printed may contain the names of members of other churches’.
Under the heading 1914 – 1918 In Memoriam 19 names were listed:
J A Craig
A W V Green
J S Ward
It is the case that not all of those listed died in the Great War.
Flying Officer Hubert Sheals was a Second World War casualty who was killed in action on 6 March 1942 and he is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial. His brother, Bombardier Eric Sheals was also a Second World War casualty; Eric was killed in action on 4 January 1942 and was buried in Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.
Hubert Stanley and Eric Francis Sheals were sons of Hugh Townley Sheals and Frances Sheals (nee Timbey) who were married on 10 September 1903 in St. James’s Church of Ireland Church, Belfast. Hugh Townley Sheals was a linen merchant and he and Frances had at least three children – Hubert Stanley (born 19 June 1904); Ashley Timbey (born 21 July 1908) and Eric Francis (born 18 July 1912). For a time, the Sheals family lived with Frances’s widowed mother, Eliza Timbey, in the townland of Ballyfinaghy, Malone, Belfast. Later they lived at Arden, Balmoral, Belfast.
Both Hubert and Eric Sheals attended Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI), Hubert from 1918 until 1920 and Eric from 1924 until 1929. Their mother, Frances Sheals, died on 1 January 1945 (aged 65) and their father, Hugh Townley Sheals, died on 25 September 1951 (aged 76). Both parents were buried in Belfast City Cemetery (Grave A2 4). Eric was the first of the two brothers to be killed.
Sheals, Francis Eric (Eric)
No. 1486508, 5 Battery, 2 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
Killed in action on Sunday 4 January 1942 (aged 29)
Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya (Grave 7. C. 5)
Eric Sheals joined the Royal Artillery and he served with 5 Battery, 2 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. Bombardier Francis Eric Sheals was 29 years old when he was killed in action on 4 January 1942 and he was buried in Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya (Grave 7. C. 5). He is commemorated in RBAI.
On Sunday 2 September 2011, a commemorative church service was held in Baronscourt Parish Church, Co. Tyrone to dedicate a plaque to the memory of the eighteen scouts from 74th Belfast (RBAI) Scout Group who lost their lives in the Second World War, many of whom had camped on the Baronscourt Estate in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of hostilities. The plaque commemorated the 70th anniversary of the first building of a memorial cairn by RBAI scouts on the nearby hill known as Bessy Bell.
Sheals, Hubert Stanley (Hubert)
No. 61116, Royal Air Force
Killed on active service on Friday 6 March 1942 (aged 37)
Singapore Memorial, Singapore (Column 413)
Hubert Sheals joined the Royal Air Force and was on war service when he and Ethel Winifred Milliken (daughter of Samuel Milliken) were married on 17 April 1941 in Helen’s Bay Presbyterian Church. Less than a year later, Flying Officer Hubert Sheals died on 6 March 1942 during operations following the fall of Singapore to Japanese Forces on 15 February 1942. Flying Officer Hubert Stanley Sheals was 37 years old when he was killed (just two months after his brother Eric) and he is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial; in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church (as Hubert Sheals); in the annals of Helen’s Bay Presbyterian Church and in RBAI.
Hubert’s widow, Ethel Winifred Sheals (nee Milliken), was living at 35 Rosevale (Roseville), Craigavad when she and Wallace Hamilton Robb were married on 30 March 1949 in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church.