Coleshill Remembers World War 1
As a free service to the World War 1 commemoration year, ST-IT Limited have created and are hosting a free database of Coleshill connected veterans.
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Entry for Private Francis Comerford
6th Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment
Year of Birth
Date of Death
Private Comerford is remembered on the War Memorial in St Teresa and the Sacred Heart, Coleshill. Francis (Frank) Comerford was born in 1877 in London, the second youngest son of Richard Patrick (a tailor) and Elizabeth Comerford. In 1881 the family were living at 11 Hawthorn Street, Islington. Frank had 6 older siblings. The family fell on hard times and from October 1882 Elizabeth and her youngest children were admitted to the Hackney Union Workhouse several times. The children were sent from there to Brentwood School each time, which was overseen by the Hackney Union. The school was a large residential school set up for the care and education of pauper children whose parents were in the Hackney workhouse. At this time Elizabeth was listed as a married woman and it is not clear where her husband Patrick was. In 1889 Frank’s father Patrick died and family circumstances became very difficult. Elizabeth and her two youngest children, Frank and Patrick somehow ended up in the Aston Union Workhouse in Birmingham. From there Frank and Patrick were sent permanently to the St Paul’s Home in Coleshill on the 9th February 1889. Elizabeth was still in the workhouse in 1891 where she is listed as a pauper working as a vest maker. Frank remained in Coleshill for 5 years, being discharged from St Paul’s to lodgings on the 30th October 1894. Frank’s whereabouts following his discharge are not clear, although his younger brother Patrick settled in the Birmingham area and in 1911 was living with his wife and 5 children at The Gables, Birchall Street, Birmingham. Sometime after the outbreak of war Frank enlisted in Bromley, Kent, into the 6th Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment, service number G/11059, giving his place of residence as King’s Cross, London. Private Comerford did not serve in a theatre of war until at least early 1916. The 6th Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment came under command of 37th Brigade in 12th (Eastern) Division. They landed at Boulogne in June 1915 and it is likely that Private Comerford joined them as part of a group of re-enforcements sometime in 1916. On 3rd May 1917, the 6 Queens Own were in the trenches in the vicinity ironically called Happy Valley, approximately 5 miles east of Arras. The battalion war diary for the day details the action as follows and is quite short and to the point: "At 2.30am Battalion moved up into position for the attack. B & D Coys in support of the 7th East Surrey Regt, A & C Coys in support of 6th Bn The Buffs. Attack on BROWN LINE started at 3.45am. Attack came under heavy machine gun fire and was repulsed. The Bn not called on for support. Orders received in late afternoon for Bn to capture BROWN LINE starting at 9.45pm. The attack was unsuccessful being beaten back by intense machine gun fire from both flanks and from the front. Casualties: 12 Officers 250 ORs. Private Comerford was killed in action on the 3rd May 1917 and is now buried in Plot 3, Row D, Grave 7 of the Cagnicourt British Cemetery. His brother Patrick was given as his next of kin in his military will. Private Comerford was posthumously awarded the British War and Allied Victory medals. He was 40 years old.