Colombe Brothers

frederick-colombus colombe -heritage.nf.ca
Frederick Colombe No. 912 1st Bn. Nfld Regiment

The Colombe brothers of Shallop Cove, Fred and Frank, died exactly two years apart. On October 9, 1915, Fred died of wounds received at Gallipoli. On October 9, 1917, Frank was killed in action “in France or Belgium”.

They were among the elder of Frank Sr. and Susan (Benoit) Colombe’s large family. Fred’s attestation papers say he was 21 when he enlisted in January 1915.  In March 1916, five months after Fred’s death, Frank enlisted. His attestation papers say he was 20. According to their mother, Fred was 20 when he died and Frank was 19.

On June 9, 1921, Francis Colombe Sr. died. Soon after, Mrs. Colombe sought financial help from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Her application for Separation Allowance is in the RNR archives.

Here it is. Below each page, I’ve typed out some of the questions and answers. The ones that tell an astounding, and profoundly sad, story. It’s her words but not her handwriting. On the final page, look closely at the signature. You’ll see an X and “her mark”. That makes her words even more haunting somehow.

Click each image to enlarge it or go to The Rooms’ RNR Database to see PDFs of the entire files. (They are in list as Columbus.) This application is in Fred’s file.

rnr separation allowance application pg 1To The Paymaster,

Separation Allowance Branch, St. John’s, Nfld.

(1) Name of soldier, Rank, Reg’t or Unit, Reg’t No.
Fred Colomb, Pte,, 1st R Nfld, 912
Frank Colomb, Pte., 1st R Nfld, 2296

(2) Age of soldier. Married or single
20, 19 – single

(5) If your husband is not supporting you give the reason.
Dead

(9) Names of your other children. Address, Age, Occupation, Married or single
David Colomb (E Forester)[?], Shallop Cove, 23, Invalid, Single
Joseph “, Shallop Cove, 30, Invalid, Married
Louis “, Citadel Hill, Halifax, 19, Soldier, Single
Peter “, Shallop Cove, 25, Fisherman, Married
Mrs. Jos. White [Mary], Shallop Cove, 26, Housekeeper, Married
Mrs. Levi Young [Nancy], Shallop Cove, 22, ” ”
Delia Colomb, [?] St., Sydney, 16, Servant, Single
Mercy “, Shallop Cove, 14, Schoolgirl, Single
Statia “, Shallop Cove, 12, ” ”
Genevieve “, Shallop Cove, 10, ” ”
Cecelia “, Shallop Cove, 9 ” ”
Bell “, Shallop Cove, 7 ” ”

(10) State amount earned by (a) yourself (b) your husband.
Hard for me to say how much I earn as I [illegible]rnr separation allowance application pg 2

(12) State value of real property belonging to you and your husband.
About $300.00

(13) State value of personal property belonging to you and your husband.
About $30.00

(15) Actual amount contributed by soldier during the year prior to enlistment.
Whatever they earned they gave to me and my husband. They were young & worked with their father. They did not give any stated sum.

(18) State your son’s trade or occupation prior to enlistment.
They helped their father fishing and farming on a small scale.

(21) State amount of monthly support from son since enlistment.
Fred gave $12.00 per month. Frank gave 50¢ per day = $15 per month. Frank while in R. Navy (1 year) gave $9.00 per month.

(23) State from what date did you receive allotment?
Fred – June 1915. Frank – as RNR Jany. 1915, soldier – June? 1916

(26) If not receiving support from other children, state cause.
Some married, some not able to work, the rest too young. Louis has to support himself.

(27) With whom are you residing at present?
The single children are staying with me.rnr separation allowance application pg 3

(28) Have you made a previous claim for Separation Allowance. If not, why?
No. My husband said while he was able to work that he would not make a claim, nor allow me to make one.

(29) Are you already in receipt of any payment from any Patriotic Fund?
No

(30) Are you already in receipt of Separation Allowance from any source?
No

(31) Was the soldier at the time of his enlistment an employee of the Nfld. Government?
No

(33) Is he in receipt of a salary as such while serving in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment?
Both dead

Response to Mrs. Colombe

rnr major paymaster reply oct 1921Dear Madam:- With reference to your application for Separation Allowance… that same cannot be granted to you… during the period of service of your son, Fred, your husband was not incapacitated, and consequently you were not at that time, totally dependent on your said son. Yours truly… 

***********************

I googled the names that Natty White mentioned of  Shallop Cove men who died in WWI. These files drew me right into their story.

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8 thoughts on “Colombe Brothers”

  1. So proud to say these 2 handsome men were my uncles, they fought bravely for our great country.
    I too served my country for 32 plus years and never regretted a day of it

    1. Hi Joyce, thanks for writing. Your uncles were brave, and so were their mother and father. Thanks too for your own service.

  2. What great courage and pride this family carried. What great people they were , so rich in native culture and human kindness. I can relate because All my Relations were the same kind of people in Bay St. George. Why are we losing what our Brave Relations fought for? Where is the kindness ,the Pride and the Respect gone that our Elders maintained. Can we all try and find it and hold on to it.

    1. Hi Bob, yes, courage and pride are the right words. You really see both in Mrs. Colombe’s words. Quite a story of strength, told in a three page form!

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