Frank Shackleton

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 1 (Spring 2002), Letters, Volume 10

Sir,—I read with interest Tomás O’Riordan’s article on the theft of theIrish Crown Jewels (HI, Winter 2001). I have written an entry onFrancis Richard (‘Frank’) Shackleton for the Royal Irish Academy’sDictionary of Irish Biography and thought that your readers might beinterested in some further information regarding his later life. Afterthe theft of the jewels and the subsequent investigation, he wasinvolved in some dubious business deals, being declared bankrupt in1910 with debts of nearly £85,000. He fled to Portuguese West Africawhere he initially worked as a plantation manager but was arrested inOctober 1912 on fraud charges and sent back to London for trial.Charged with the ‘fraudulent conversion’ of funds entrusted to him by aMiss Mary Browne, he was found guilty at his trial at the Old Bailey inOctober 1913 and sentenced to fifteen months hard labour. On hisrelease from prison he assumed the surname ‘Mellor’ and his brother,the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, secured him a position ina London office. Little is known of what he did for the next few years.He was living at Sydenham in 1920 but by 1934 he had moved toChichester where he opened an antique shop and also worked as agenealogist. He lived there with his unmarried sister, Amy VibertShackleton (1875-1953), for the rest of his life and died at StRichard’s Hospital on 24 June 1941. Buried in Chichester cemetery, hisheadstone bears the name Mellor.
Royal Irish Academy
Dictionary of Irish Biography


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