The O'Leary Collection—Medals of The Royal Canadian Regiment

9583 A/Cpl Francis "Frank" G. Carr

Royal Munster Fusiliers
The Royal Canadian Regiment
Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps
Royal Canadian Air Force

By: Capt (ret'd) Michael M. O'Leary, CD, The RCR

Francis G. Carr was born on 9 (or 22) Nov 1885 at St. Pancras, London, Middlesex County, England. He arrived in Canada on 10 Feb 1912, landing at Halifax, N.S., aboard the S.S. Corsican, which sailed from Liverpool, England.

On arriving in Halifax, Carr joined the Canadian Permanent Force with The Royal Canadian Regiment. His records indicate that he was taken on strength on 1 Feb 1912, suggesting that he was recruited in England and his enrolment was dated from his date of sailing. (Some documents give 14 Feb 1912 as the date his service began.) Two days after disembarking at Halifax, he was medically examined and pronounced "fit for bandsman." He remained under Regimental Headquarters until 1 Jan 1914 when he was posted as a Bandsman to "F" Company.

In details spread between entries in surviving regimental enlistment ledgers, Carr was born in London, England, He gave his birthdate as 22 Nov 1886 and his trade as Musician. He claimed the prior receipt of the Queen's South Africa Medal with two clasps, for which his First World War attestation would confirm 13 years previous service with the Royal Munster Fusiliers of the British Army. Other documents in his records indicate service in South Africa from 20 Dec 1901 to 5 Nov 1902. Carr was likely serving with the regiment's 2nd Battalion, which arrived in South Africa in December, 1901, from India and proceeded to Cork Harbour, Ireland in November, 1902. Carr did not, however, meet the requirements to receive any medals for his service in South Africa. (There is one note in a regimental enrolment ledger that states "South Africa (Queen's), 2 clasps" but this is not repeated on any later documents that identify Carr's medal entitlement.)

On enlisting with The RCR, Carr was recorded as 5 feet 4 inches in height (generously adding two inches over his medical examiner), weighing 130 pounds (an extra 14 pounds), with a 36-inch chest (two inches added), dark complexion, hazel eyes, and brown hair. On joining the Permanent Force, he was given the regimental number 9583.

On 11 Sep 1914, The Royal Canadian Regiment sailed for Bermuda where they would serve for a year on garrison duty. The Regiment relieved the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, which sailed immediately for England.

Carr's first three-year engagement in the Permanent Force expired on 1 Feb 1915 while the Regiment served in Bermuda. Serving with "C" Company at the time, Carr was not discharged. Noted in his records, he was "Held for further service in accordance with Appendix 1, Militia Act, Para. 20." This paragraph reads: "Any person who has voluntarily enlisted, or been called upon to serve in the Militia, shall be entitled to be discharged at the expiration of the term of service for which he engaged, unless such expiration occurs in time of emergency, in which case he shall be liable to serve for a further period of not more than twelve months."

The RCR was relieved of its garrison duties in Bermuda on 12 Aug 1915 by the arrival of the 38th Overseas Battalion from Canada. The RCR returned to Halifax for a stay of only a week. During this time, the Regiment was re-attested for overseas service. Although The RCR had just spent a year in Bermuda, there were concerns regarding the applicability of the soldiers' Permanent Force enlistments for wartime deployments. This was, perhaps, prompted by the idea that a man on a P.F. three-year engagement could choose not to re-engage and the Government would be obligated to bring him home. Enlistment in the C.E.F., on the other hand, was for the "Duration of War." Accordingly, the soldiers of The RCR were re-attested, signing C.E.F. attestation papers in August 1915 before sailing for Europe.

Carr attested for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.) with The RCR at Halifax, N.S., on 22 Aug 1915. A 29-year-old musician, Carr was described on his attestation paper as 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 116 pounds, with a 34-inch chest, fair physical development, a dark complexion, brown eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic. Carr identified his brother, Mr. F. Carr, 6 St. James Garden, London, Eng., N.W., as his next of kin.

On 26 Aug 1915, The RCR sailed from Halifax aboard the S.S. Caledonian, the same ship that had brought them home from Bermuda. Disembarked at Plymouth, England, on 6 Sep 1915, the Regiment went to Shorncliffe for training.

As a regimental bandsman, one of the other duties that Carr would have been trained to perform was stretcher bearing. On 23 Sep 1915, a month after the Regiment's arrival in England, Carr's records note that he "Returned to duty from employment as a stretcher-bearer and [was] posted to Base Company."

On 28 Sep 1915, Carr received a new C.E.F. service number to replace the regimental number he was assigned on enlisting. While serving in the C.E.F., his service number was 477154. Since the Regiment received its C.E.F. numbers while at full strength and not as they were recruited, it had the interesting effect that the soldiers of the Regiment at the time were renumbered in alphabetical order.

In preparation for the Regiment's move to France, Carr completed a Military Form of will on 13 Oct 1915. In this will he declared that, in the event of his death, all of his estate would be left to his brother Mr. Fred Carr, 6 St. James Gardens, Haverstock Hill, London, N.W.

The RCR crossed the English Channel on 1 Nov 1915, entering the theatre of war at Boulogne, France. During November and December of 1915 the Regiment prepared for service in the trenches, with companies rotating in the lines for training and a period of providing working parties before entering the line as a battalion at the end of December. The first months of 1916 saw the Regiment in the steady rotation through front line trenches, support trenches, and reserve positions that was the fundamental experience of the infantry in the Great War.

Carr was admitted to No. 5 Canadian Field Ambulance with influenza on 28 Mar 1916. He would be transferred to the 1st Canadian Field Ambulance the same date and his diagnosis would be changed to scarlet fever. After two weeks in hospital, he was discharged to duty on 12 Apr 1916.

The details of carr's employment in the Regiment during the war are not recorded in his surviving records. It is possible that his role as musician and stretcher-bearer minimized his time in the forward trenches and this is reflected in the very few entries in his records. On 15 Jul 1917, he was granted 10 days Leave to Paris, which was extended four additional days and he returned to the unit on 30 Jul 1917.

Carr next went on leave starting 18 Feb 1918 when he was granted 14 days leave to England. He returned to the Regiment on 8 Mar 1918.

After the Armistice, Carr went on leave a third time on 31 Dec 1918, when he was granted 14 days Leave to UK. He was away from the Regiment a full three weeks, returning 21 Jan 1919.

On 6 Feb 1919, Carr proceeded to England with The RCR, the first stage of the Regiment's return to Canada. He was medically examined in preparation for discharge on 9 Feb 1919 at Bramshott and was described at the time as 5 feet 3 inches in height, weighing 128 pounds, with good nutrition and good physique. The form completed during the examination noted that he had scarlet fever and influenza in March 1916 and had good recovery. No other health issues from his service were recorded.

Frank Carr was struck off strength of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada on 1 Mar 1919 on proceeding to Canada. He taken on the strength of District Depot No. 6, Halifax, N.S., on sailing and posted to the Halifax Dispersal Station "B". On arrival in Canada, Carr was transferred to the Base Depot of The RCR on 9 Mar 1919.

Carr was discharged from the C.E.F. on demobilization at Halifax, N.S., on 15 Mar 1919. His character and conduct on discharge was recorded as "Exemplary." On discharge, he was issued the Class "A" War Service Badge, numbered 77355.

On discharge from the C.E.F., Carr was entitled to a War Service Gratuity of $420. This was paid to him in installments between April and August, 1919. As a Private in the C.E.F., Carr was paid $1.00 per day plus an additional ten cents daily field allowance. He had no dependents and made no pay assignment to family. Throughout the war he used his pay account as his bank, allowing his pay to accumulate without taking all that he was owed each month. When his pay account was closed for his discharge from the C.E.F., he had accrued $500.76 in pay that was owed to him. In addition he received 15 days' pay and allowance and a clothing allowance of $35.00.

After a brief period of employment as a clerk in the Civil Service from April 1919 to March 1920, Carr re-enlisted in the Permanent Force with The RCR at Toronto, Ont., on 1 Apr 1920. He was appointed Bandsman, Class I, with six years total service and granted a rate of pay of $2.25 per diem. His post-war regimental number was 12808.

General Order No. 179 of 1920 listed new recipients of the Permanent Forces of the Empire Beyond the Seas Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. This medal was awarded to soldiers of the Permanent Force who had completed 18 years of service. "12808 Private F. Carr" was included in the recipients list in this General Order. In November 1920, Carr's medal was sent by the Adjutant-General's office to the office of the General Officer Commanding Military District No. 4 at Montreal for forwarding to The RCR for presentation.

For his service in the C.E.F., Carr was entitled to receive the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. One of these, his British War Medal, was presented to him on parade at London, Ont., on 12 Jun 1921. The Free Press, of London, Ont., reported in its edition of Monday, 13 Jun 1921"

45 War Medals are Presented

Ceremony Follows Divine Service at Carling Heights Camp
"Gen. Panet Officiates
"Middlesex, Bruce and Huron Infantry Under Canvas"

When Capt. S.E. McKegney, M.C., chaplain of the Huron Regiment, addressed himself to troops in camp at Carling's Heights, formed in a hollow square for divine service yesterday morning, he faced an array of war decorations never equaled in the history of the district. The ranks of the Royal Canadian Regiment glittered with medals, their officers and many other members of the reorganized unit having served overseas, while overseas men of the Middlesex, Bruce and Huron regiments were resplendent in the ribbons representing many decorations, the actual medals being left safely at home. The distinguishing patches of several divisions of the Canadian corps, and particularly that of the 4th, were in evidence on many militia officers' uniforms, and it was evident that numbers of the jackets and caps on N.C.O.'s and men were never issued on this side of the ocean, but were clothing left with the men on demobilization from the C.E.F. Here and there could be seen the "Old Red Patch" button given members of the First Division by their commander, Major-Gen. A.C. Macdonell before demobilization.

Presentations to 45

To add to the war flavor of the occasion, Brig.-Gen. H.A. Panet, G.O.C., presented, following the service, some 45 war medals and other decorations, chiefly to members of the Royal Canadian Regiment, whose commander, Lieut.-Col. C.H. Hill, received his D.S.O."

On 27 Sep 1923, Carr was appointed Acting Corporal without pay whilst employed with the Band.

The following year, on 1 Aug 1924, Carr was graded for Tradesmans Pay as "Bandsman" under provisions of G.O. 89 of 1924, Pay and Allowance Regulations for the Permanent Force and Non-Permanent Active Militia, 1924, Amendments (Canada Gazette Supplement, dated 5 Jul 1924). Graded for the "4th rate," he received an additional 20 cents per diem.

After a full year as an unpaid Acting Corporal, Carr relinquished his rank of and returned to the ranks as a private on 18 Oct 1924.

On 23 Oct 1924, "C" Company and Headquarters of The RCR at Wolseley Barracks conducted their annual rifle shoot at the Cove Ranges in London, Ont. Results of the various matches fired were published in The Free Press of London the following day. Carr is shown in the results for the "President's Cup," but his score of 29 only placed him 16th on the list below Lieut.-Col. Langford's winning 33 points. Carr placed better in the "Running Man" competition firing five rounds rapid at 200 yards. He was one of seven shooters topping the results with 20 points. In the subsequent shoot-off, he lost to R.S.M. Roberts who repeated his 20-point performance. Carr's results in the "Extra Series", shooting five rounds at each of 200 and 500 yards for high possibles of 25 resulted in scores of 21 and 17, respectively, again well down the list from Langford's winning scores of 24 and 23. Finally, in the "General Match" scores, Carr placed 8th on the list with 85 points, nine points off Capt. Fenton's winning score of 94.

Francis Carr was discharged from The RCR at London, Ont., on 14 Nov 1924 on transfer to No. 1 Detachment, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (R.C.A.M.C.). He was taken on the strength of the R.C.A.M.C. at the rank of Private and posted for duty to No. 1 Detachment, London, Ont. Carr received a new regimental number with the R.C.A.M.C., 30127.

In April 1925, the Billiard team of The RCR at Wolseley Barracks won The Free Press Shield, a trophy donated to the military sports league. The Free Press edition of 7 Apr 1925 included a photograph of the winning team, which included Francis Carr. Curiously, Carr is still wearing collar badges of The RCR in the photo.

The regimental journal, The Connecting File, in its edition of December 1925, reported on the performance of "C" Company and Headquarters at the rifle range. The annual meet of the Station Rifle Association was held at the Cove Rifle Range, London, Ont., on 26, 27, and 29 of Oct 1925. Firers in the General Match shot seven rounds at each range of 200, 500, and 600 yards, for a maximum possible score of 105 points. Listed in the regimental results presented in the journal, Carr finished in the Class "A" category with a score of 89 (nine points behind the winner of the Silver Medal, Serjt. Maj. H. Russell).

On 15 Mar 1926, Carr was posted to No. 3 Detachment, R.C.A.M.C., at Kingston, Ont. Here, on 21 Oct 1926, he qualified as an Orderly and the following year, on 1 Jul 1927, he remustered to Storekeeper, Group "B".

Carr was struck off the strength of the R.C.A.M.C. on 5 Sep 1928 when he obtained his discharge by purchase. His character on discharge was recorded as "Good."

Not long for "civvie street," Carr was soon back in front of a recruiting officer. On 26 Sep 1928, Frank Carr attested for service with the Royal Canadian Air Force at the age of 37 years, 10 months. In his application for enlistment completed at Ottawa, Ont., Carr noted his previous service with The RCR and the R.C.A.M.C., indicating his trade as "clerk & musician & store work." His employment at the time was noted as clerical work. Carr's R.C.A.F. enlistment form included a section for the "Report of Officer Interviewing the Applicant." Carr's suitability was noted as "storekeeper with training and experience." This was signed by Squadron Leader (later Air Commodore) Stanley Gordon Tackaberry.

Carr was taken on the strength of No. 1 Aircraft Depot at Ottawa, Ont. For his service with the R.C.A.F., his service number was 890. Carr was graded as "Labourer (Storekeeper)" and he was detailed for duty in the Directorate of Civil Government Air Operations.

In October, 1928, Carr attended a Drill Course at Cartier Square, Ottawa. In April, 1929, he completed a month-long Stores Course at Camp Borden. Carr had failed his first attempt at the Storekeeper trade test on 25 Feb 1929, but passed a subsequent test on 3 Dec 1929 with a grade of 81%.

An entry in Carr's records shows that he had a single experience with flying. On 27 Aug 1929, he was "Entitled to Flying Pay (one day)."

On 1 Jan 1930, Carr was reclassified to "Leading Aircraftsman (L.A.C.)." Later that year, on 26 Sep 1931, he re-engaged for a further three years and was entitled to a higher rate of pay, having served three years as "a/c."

Two years into his latest terms of service, on 1 Jan 1932, Carr was appointed Acting Corporal. The recommendation for his promotion described him as "always proved to be energetic, trustworthy & efficient." On 1 Jan 1933, he was confirmed in rank.

Carr passed his Sergeants' Promotion Examination paper on 16 Nov 1933 but a promotion was not in his future. On 26 Sep 1934, still at the rank of Corporal, he re-engaged for a further three years. By 1 Jan 1936, he was entitled to a higher rate of pay having served three years in rank of Corporal.

On 25 Jun 1936, Carr was discharged from the R.C.A.F. at Ottawa, Ont. His total service was 24 years, 53 days. Carr's discharge certificate noted that his conduct and character were "Exemplary" and his qualifications during his Air Force service were "Superior." Carr's qualifications noted for civil employment were "Clerk and Musician." His intended address after discharge was 187 James St., Ottawa, Ont.

It was a few weeks after his discharge that Carr's pension entitlement was confirmed.

P.C. 57/1675

Certified to be a true copy of a Minute of a Meeting of the Treasury Board approved by the Deputy of His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the 10th July, 1936.

National Defence:

The Board recommend that No. 890, Corporal Frank Carr, Royal Canadian Air Force, who, having reached the age limit for discharge, was retired on 25th June, 1936, after having completed not less than twenty years' service in South Africa, the Permanent Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force, be granted, under the provisions of The Militia Pension Act, a pension of $739.60 per annum; such pension to commence on the 26th June, 1936.

(sgd) H.W. Lothrop
Asst. Clerk of the Privy Council."

Frank Carr died on 19 Jul 1961. A record card held by Library and Archives Canada shows his date of death and matches his name to his R.C.A.F. service number. Unfortunately, no other details were noted on the card.

Pro Patria

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