Bombardier Francis Eric Sheals (1486508) served in 5th Battery, 2nd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery during World War Two. Born on 18th July 1912, he was the son of Hugh Townley Sheals and Frances Sheals (née Timbey) of Belfast, Co. Antrim.
Family and friends knew him as Eric. Eric’s parents married on 10th September 1903 in St. James’ Church of Ireland, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Hugh was a linen merchant.
Bombardier Sheals had two older siblings, Hubert Stanley Sheals born on 19th June 1904 and Ashley Timbey Sheals born on 21st July 1908. The family lived with a widowed grandmother, Eliza Timbey in Ballyfinaghy, Malone, Belfast, Co. Antrim. In later years, they moved to “Arden”, 442 Lisburn Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim.
The family was well-known on the local golf circuit. Eric, his brother Hubert, and father Hugh were members of Balmoral Golf Club, Belfast, Co. Antrim. The elder brother represented Ireland at international level.
Eric attended Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Belfast, Co. Antrim from 1924 to 1929. Older brother Hubert also attended the same school. Before the outbreak of war, Eric was a civil engineer with Belfast City Surveyors’ Department. Eric died on 4th January 1942 aged 29 years old. He had served in the Middle East and North Africa since December 1939.
Francis Eric Sheals’ grave is in Section 7, Row C, Plot 5 of Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya, North Africa. His name features on the family headstone in Section A2, Grave 4 of Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim.