Francis Walsh (1885-1918)
Labourer, Central Parks
Francis Walsh was born on 7 August 1885 to Michael, a gardener and Ellen who were living at 8 Field Road, Hammersmith. In 1901 Francis was living at 36 Rainville Road, Fulham with his parents, two brothers and one sister. In 1908 Francis married Amelia Jane Carter in Fulham, and in 1911 they were living with their one-year-old son Francis Joseph, at 23E Kingswood Road, Fulham and he was working as a nurseryman gardener. In the same year, his father Michael, now working for the Office of Works as a gardener, and his new wife of two years, Emily, were living at 7A Emu Road, Battersea. By 1915 Francis was also working for the Office of Works as a labourer in the Central Parks.
Francis Walsh joined the army at Hounslow on 5 July 1915 aged 31 years and 120 days and was immediately posted to the 40th Division, Army Cyclist Corps. The primary roles of the cyclists were reconnaissance and communications (message taking). They were armed as infantry and could provide mobile firepower if required. Francis remained in Britain until he was posted with his unit to join the British Expeditionary Force in France. He embarked at Southampton on 4 July 1916 as part of the newly formed IX Cyclists Corps Battalion and disembarked at Le Havre on 5 July. War records could not be found of his unit; all we know is that Francis was granted two weeks’ leave to the United Kingdom on 3 November 1917 and re-joined his battalion “in the field” on 18 November. On 7 June 1918, he was appointed acting Lance Corporal in the same unit. On 5 October, acting Lance Corporal Francis Walsh was wounded in action and later that same day died of his wounds. His personal effects consisting of a silver football medal, a silver watch (broken), telescope, hairbrush, snuff box, mirror and letters were left to his wife who, by December 1918, had married again to Richard J Harley and was living in Southend on Sea, Essex.
Francis was buried in Montbrehain British Cemetery situated north-west of Saint-Quentin, France, in grave reference A.20.