Sheals, Francis Eric (No. 1486508)

Sheals, Francis Eric (Eric)

Bombardier

No. 1486508, 5 Battery, 2 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery

Killed in action on Sunday 4 January 1942 (aged 29)

Buried:

Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya (Grave 7. C. 5)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)

Baronscourt Parish Church of Ireland Church, Co Tyrone

Family grave headstone in Belfast City Cemetery

Brother of Flying Officer Hubert Stanley Sheals (No. 61116)

BIOGRAPHY

Bombardier Francis Eric Sheals’ brother, Flying Officer Hubert Stanley Sheals, who was killed in action on 6 March 1942, is commemorated in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church.

Francis Eric Sheals was the first of the two brothers to be killed.

Francis Eric Sheals was born on 18 July 1912 at 48 Bawnmore Road, Belfast and he was a son of Hugh Townley Sheals and Frances (Fanny) Sheals (nee Timbey) who were married on 10 September 1903 in St. James’s Church of Ireland Church, Belfast.  Hugh Townley Sheals, a businessman from 297 Falls Road, Belfast was a son of Hugh Sheals, an engineer.  Fanny Timbey from 8 Hughes’ Terrace, Belfast was a daughter of Robert T. Timbey.

Hugh Townley Sheals was a linen merchant and he and Frances (Fanny) had at least four children:

Hubert Stanley (born 19 June 1904 at 669 Lisburn Road, Belfast)

Ashley Timbey (born 21 July 1908 in Ballyfinaghy, Drumbeg, Lisburn)

Francis Eric (born 18 July 1912 at 48 Bawnmore Road, Belfast)

Elizabeth Augusta (born 11 August 1916 in Arden Villa, Lisburn Road, Belfast)

For a time, the Sheals family lived with Frances’s widowed mother, Eliza Timbey, in the townland of Ballyfinaghy.  Later they lived at Arden, Balmoral, Belfast.

Francis Eric Sheals attended the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI), from 1924 until 1929.  He joined the Royal Artillery and served with 5 Battery, 2 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

Bombardier Francis Eric Sheals (No. 1486508) was 29 when he was killed in action on 4 January 1942 and he was buried in Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya (Grave 7. C. 5).

Bombardier Francis Eric Sheals (No. 1486508) is commemorated in RBAI.

On Sunday 2 September 2011, a commemorative church service was held in Baronscourt Parish Church of Ireland 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. In addition to Bombardier Francis Eric Sheals the plaque bears the names of Warrant Officer Samuel Nicholl Beckett, Captain Samuel David Corry, and Sergeant Sydney Ireland.

Bombardier Francis Eric Sheals’ mother, Frances Sheals, died on 1 January 1945 (aged 65) and his father, Hugh Townley Sheals, died on 25 September 1951 (aged 76).  Both of his parents were buried in Belfast City Cemetery (Grave A2. 4).

Bombardier Francis Eric Sheals (No. 1486508) is commemorated on the family grave headstone.