Francis Vincent Callaghan signature

On this day in 1915, Frank Callaghan, a firemen from Deseronto, signed up in Napanee. He was born in Richmond Township, Lennox and Addington County on July 10th, 1889, the son of Denis Callaghan and Nora (née Pelkington). He married Vera Richardson of Napanee on March 3rd, 1914 in Toronto.

Callaghan was five feet eight and a half inches tall, with brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He had previously served for three years with the 5th Canadian Field Artillery. He joined the 59th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force with the regimental number 454676. He gave his mother, Nora, as his next of kin and a note on the attestation paper next to his marital status reads “wife has left bed and board”. His service record, however, shows that Vera was in receipt of Callaghan’s pay from the army.

Callaghan arrived in England on September 5th, 1915 and joined the 20th Battalion in France in February 1916. He received a severe gun shot wound to his right arm on October 2nd, 1916 near Courcelette and was hospitalized in England for a month. On November 10th of 1917, Frank was awarded the Military Medal. Here is the citation card:

Citation card for Francis Vincent Callaghan's Military Medal, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

Citation card for Francis Vincent Callaghan’s Military Medal, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On 10th of Nov: 1917 though on duty in an advanced first aid post, this stretcher bearer hearing that his comrades, who could not be evacuated from the WRATH FARM ROAD at the time, were in need of first aid treatment, volunteered to go to their assistance. He worked with the utmost skill and disregard for his own safety, dressing and cheering these casualties, although in the midst of gas shells whilst doing to. Later in the day he showed the same devotion to his wounded comrades until overcome by gas his removal from the line became necessary.

[On the reverse of this card] He has consistently performed similar services to his comrades in previous actions.

Frank left England in March 1919 and was demobilized on March 27th in Kingston. His wife died on March 6th, 1922 in Kingston General Hospital and was buried in Napanee. Frank was listed as the informant on her death registration, living in Point Anne. He got married again shortly afterward, on June 9th, 1922 to Helen Selden, also of Point Anne. He died on September 30th, 1961 and was buried in Pine Hill Cemetery, Scarborough.