Francis enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1845 at the age of 16.
He first served on the HMS St Jeanne d’Arc, a ship of 101 guns, under Captain Hon
Henry Keppel. This ship was commissioned for service in the Crimean war, with the
fleet under Sir Charles Napier. In August 1854, the ship was involved in the attack
of the forts of Bomardund. and then sailed up the Gulf of Bothnia with the object
of destroying the Russian’s supplies of timber.
In December 1854, it sailed to Cork and embarked a regiment to take out to the Crimea.
Francis John Peake Shapcott was present in the taking of Sebastapol, and was awarded
the Crimean medal, with the Sebastapol Bar.
He also participated in the capture of forts at Kinburn near Odessa just before the
end of the war.
Later he was appointed to HMS Leopard, and served in her until the summer of 1856.
Later he was sent out to the Pacific in HMS Nareus, and was for 3 years on that commission
in the Bay of Valparaisoe.
He returned to England in 1860 and was appointed to the Admiral’s Office in Devonport
for 10 years.
Francis John Peake Shapcote married Sarah Ann Gifford on 6 June 1865, Stoke Damerel.
She was born in 1839 in Scotland, daughter of Charles Frederick Gifford.