Geddis, Francis (No. 10940)

Geddis, Francis (Frank)

Corporal

No. 10940, 8th Battalion, King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

Killed in action on Monday 13 November 1916 (aged 26)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 5 D and 12 B)

Comber and District War Memorial

First Comber Presbyterian Church

BIOGRAPHY

In some records his surname is spelt Geddes.

Francis Geddis was born on 23 July 1890 in High Street, Comber and he was a son of Samuel and Catherine Geddis (nee Finlay) who were married on 22 April 1887 in Gilnahirk Presbyterian Church.  Samuel Geddis (aged 21) from Comber was a tramway worker and he was a son of Samuel Geddis, a labourer.  Catherine Finlay (aged 17) from Comber was a domestic servant and she was a daughter of Francis Finlay, a mill driver.

Later, Samuel Geddis worked as an insurance agent and he and Catherine had at least three children:

Samuel Hugh (born 30 September 1888 in High Street, Comber; died 9 September 1889)

Francis (Frank, born 23 July 1890 in High Street, Comber)

Elizabeth (Lizzie, born 11 January 1894)

After Catherine Geddis died on 9 March 1901 (aged 31), Samuel, Francis and Lizzie lived with Samuel’s father (also called Samuel Geddis) who worked as a night watchman and lived in High Street Comber.

Frank Geddis worked as a shipyard labourer and he lived with his uncle, William James McKibbin, in High Street, Comber.  He enlisted in Belfast and was a soldier when he and Sarah Burgess were married on 26 December 1913 in Comber Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church.  Sarah Burgess (aged 21) from Brownlow Street, Comber was a daughter of Samuel Burgess, a labourer.

Frank and Sarah Geddis (nee Burgess) had at least one child:

Sarah (born 4 October 1915)

During the Great War Corporal Frank Geddis (No. 10940) served with the 8th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) and was 26 when he was killed in action on 13 November 1916.  At the time of Frank’s death his wife was living at 17 Brownlow Street, Comber and his sister, Lizzie Loughran, was living in High Street, Comber.

Frank Geddis suffered multiple wounds during the fighting at Ypres on 2 May 1915 and was transferred to Leckhampton Court Hospital in England for treatment.  He recovered sufficiently to be posted back to the Front.  After Frank was killed on 13 November 1916 his Commanding Officer wrote to Frank’s widow, Sarah, to express his condolences.  In the letter he commented that, had Frank survived, he would have been promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

In another letter the Church of England Chaplain explained how Frank had died.  He was badly wounded at the German wire and he took cover in a shell hole.  It was in the shell hole that Frank died and it was impossible to bring his body in.

Corporal Frank Geddis (No. 10940) has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Comber and District War Memorial and in First Comber Presbyterian Church.

Frank’s uncle, Sergeant Finlay, served with the 18th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles stationed at Clandeboye.  Three of his wife’s brothers were also on active service.