Menu ☰
Liverpool Pals header
Search Pals

Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

L/Cpl 21689 Francis Carew

  • Age: 25
  • From: Liverpool
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
  • K.I.A Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.
L/Cpl 21689 Francis CAREW, 19th KLR.

Francis Carew was born in the January quarter of 1891, the fourth child and second son of Richard Carew and his wife Mary (nee Garrity). His parents married in 1879.

On the 1881 Census the family are living at 4 Vine Grove, Seaforth. Father, Richard, is aged 30 and is a seaman born in Liverpool,  whilst mother,  Mary, is 21 years of age and was born in Litherland. Also present is her father Thomas Garrity 49 a labourer born in County Mayo, Ireland. 

Francis' father, a 1st mate, tragically drowned on 12th October 1890 (prior to Francis' birth) when his barque, the "Melmerby" foundered off Nova Scotia in heavy weather.
The details were contained in an article published in the Liverpool Daily Post on 22nd October 1890:


Story Of One Of These Survivors.  

The Inman Line steamer City of New York, which arrived at Queenstown last evening from New York brought full details of the loss of the Liverpool barque Melmerby, a vessel of 1,510 tons, on a ledge of rocks near Roy's Island, Little Harbour, Nova Scotia, on the 12th., and the drowning of the Captain and 15 of the crew. James Fletcher, one of the survivors and native of Liverpool gives the following details of the disaster:- "We sailed on October 1 from Quebec for Greenock with a cargo or timber and having a crew or 22 hands under the command of Captain Olsen. The voyage looked suspicious and went well for a week when we encountered a heavy gale. We battled with its successfully for a day, but our ship sprung a leak and soon we had six feet of water in the hold. The pumps were worked incessantly but still the water rose. On Monday of last week we were waterlogged and we jettisoned our deck cargo. Our stores and boats were washed away. Things were looking pretty blue for us. Our food was gone, we had eaten almost nothing for two days, and on Tuesday we spoke with the Norwegian barque Nightingale who, seeing our condition, offered to take us off but the captain refused to leave. The Norwegian then gave us some biscuits and water. On Wednesday the weather again became terrific and the main mast was carried away, taking with it the mizzen top mast are condition now became desperate in the extreme, and immense seas swept clean over the vessel and several times we were washed from one end of the deck to the other. Tons of water had got into the cabins and destroyed the little provisions we had leaving us without a morsel of food. That evening a fishing schooner spoke, and supplied us with food and water, and her captain seeing our helpless condition, and knowing the coast, came aboard our ship leaving his son in charge of the schooner. Next day our rudder was carried away, and then the ship became quite unmanageable. For two days we drifted a helpless wreck about the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On Sunday during a violent gale and heavy downpour of rain we were driven onto the rocks at Roy's Island, Little Harbour, and soon the vessel began to break up. Towards the evening the Captain and 16 men, including a pilot, got into the lifeboat and attempted to row to the shore, but they had scarcely left the vessel's side when the surf and the awful force of the underflow capsized the boat and all hands were drowned. At midnight Samuel Cook, a seaman, said he would attempt to swim to the shore and plunged into the sea. After a desperate battle with the waves he was swept on the shore, cut and bruised from being dashed against the rocks. I next attempted to reach the shore, and in my efforts to do so was nearly drowned two or three times. I finally succeeded and climbing a high rock, more dead than alive, and afterwards swooned away with exhaustion. Four men, viz.- Arthur Hueston, James Kane, D. Evans, and the Captain of the schooner and remained on the wreck, and these, after spending an awful night, were rescued next morning by a boat manned by farmers above the shore. Seven in all were saved and 16 lost, including the Captain, First and Second officers, and the carpenter, most of them belonged to Liverpool where the vessel is owned by Messrs. W. H. Ross and Co."

According to Richard's death record at sea he was living at 49 Wordsworth Street, Bootle at the time of death.

In 1891, the year Francis was born, Mary Carew describes herself as a widow, aged 31, she is living with her widowed father, Thomas Garrity aged 69  and her four children at 9 Greenfield Lane, Litherland. Josephine is 9 born in Seaforth, Richard 7 born Litherland, Margaret 4 born Marsh Lane, Bootle and Francis is just 7 days old born in Litherland.

In 1901 she, again, describes herself as a widow, now aged 41 and working as a charwoman, living at 19 Bath Street, Waterloo. Her children are listed as; Josephine aged 18 is a laundress, Richard J. is 16, Margaret is 14, and Francis is 10.

In 1911 the only member of the family I have been able to find in the Census is Josephine, who is described as a nurse working in the Liverpool Workhouse Infirmary.

On a census record for a hotel at 97 Piccadilly, Manchester, is Mary Garrity aged 46, a housekeeper, and Frank Carew aged 23 with independent means (their birth places are not consistent, being Newcastle and Langley respectively). 

On 25th September 1914, aged 23 years and 180 days, Francis enlisted in Liverpool as Private 21689 joining the 19th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment as Private 21689. His occupation was shown as a Watchmaker. He was described as being 5' 9" tall, weight 147lbs, with a 39" chest a fresh complexion with grey eyes and dark brown hair. He states his religion as Roman Catholic.

Formed on 07th September 1914 the 19th Battalion trained locally at Sefton Park and remained living at home or in rented accommodation until November 1914. They then moved to the hutted accommodation at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 19th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain.

His record shows that Francis was court-martialled on 15th July 1915 for “not complying with an order “but was released, having given an acceptable explanation for his actions.

He embarked for France on 07th November 1915.

On 18th January 1916 was appointed Unpaid Lance Corporal and on 7th February was slightly wounded but remained on duty.

His Service Record shows that on 11th July 1916, aged 25 years, he was killed in action at Trones Wood. 

The murderous fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties which is why many of the 17th Battalion losses have been bracketed as killed in action between 10th – 12th July 1916.The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II.

The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary. The place was Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination,   the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible.

In September 1916, his mother, now living at 1 Cooper’s Row, Waterloo, writes to the Army asking if there is any further information about her son “who has been reported missing since July 11 1916”. On 12th September, she receives a negative reply, suggesting that at least until that date the military had not formally notified her of her son’s death. In fact his service record is updated on 02nd November 1916 to show that he was killed on 11th July, suggesting that in the confusion of battle the authorities were unable to ascertain what had happened to him until this date.

Further details were given in the Liverpool Daily Post on 29th November 1916


King's (Liverpool Regiment) Carew 21869 Lce-Corpl. F.;

Francis was originally buried near Bernafay Wood. Despite the fact that a map reference is given, it would appear that his grave was subsequently destroyed as he is now commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. 

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

In the declaration she sent to the Infantry HQ at Preston, Mary reports that Francis’s brother, Richard aged 35 years, is “supposed to be in America”; her daughter Josephine, aged 37, is “a nurse somewhere in France”; and her other daughter has married.

His mother received his three medals. 

Soldiers Effects to mother Mary and sister Josephine, Pension to mother Mary, at 1 Coopers Row, Waterloo.

Francis is commemorated on the following Mmeorials:

Waterloo and Seaforth War Memorial in Crosby Road North (The Five Lamps”)

St. Francis Xavier College, Liverpool

We currently have no further information on Francis Carew, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old