Rodney Street is famous for its medical practitioners, but there are many other notable people who have lived there. One of these was Sheila Heaney MBE, a high ranking army officer.
Sheila was born in Liverpool in 1917 the daughter of a surgeon living at 68 Rodney Street. Educated at Huyton College, she studied sociology at Liverpool University, graduating in 1938.
With war looming Sheila joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1938, encouraging many of her colleagues at Marks & Spencer’s personnel department to follow suit. When her sister married in October 1939 and she was bridesmaid, she wore her uniform rather than traditional dress.
Obtaining high ranking positions, Sheila travelled to the United States and East Africa during the war and afterwards served in Palestine. On returning to Britain in she opted for a permanent army career and was a founding member of the Women’s Royal Army Corps in 1949. She never married and remained living at 68 Rodney Street.
Sheila rose to the rank of Major with Western Command, based in Chester and was awarded the MBE in 1955. She was posted to the War Office in 1959, leaving Liverpool to live in London. Rising through the ranks of lieutenant colonel and commander, she became director of the WRAC in 1970 and also Aide-de-Camp to the Queen.
In 1973 Sheila retired and went to Edinburgh, living with her widowed mother. She remained active, delivering meals on wheels on behalf of the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service, eventually becoming district organiser for Edinburgh and chairman for Scotland.
Sheila’s mobility worsened in the 1980s and she stopped volunteering. A heavy smoker, she died of lung cancer at St Columba’s Hospice on 1st February 1991.
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