Colombe Brothers

Colombe Brothers

frederick-colombus colombe
Fred Colombe #912 1st Bn. NR

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 (#2296). 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.

Application for Separation Allowance

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.

You can search for their entire files at The Rooms’ RNR Database (PDFs). They are listed as “Columbus.” This application is in Fred’s file.

rnr separation allowance application pg 1

To 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.

(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?

(30) Are you already in receipt of Separation Allowance from any source?

(31) Was the soldier at the time of his enlistment an employee of the Nfld. Government?

(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 1921

Dear 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.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Hi Dorothy I am trying to help my father get his status recognized and I see that you have the Colombe brothers under Mi’kmaq history do you have or have you seen something that would verify this? The brothers are the brothers of my great grandmother Marie Colombe, any help you might have with this would be really appreciated.

    1. Hi Derek, I have no documentation about the Colombes. Best thing I can think of is to ask the band office in St. George’s.

  2. So proud

  3. So very proud to say The Colombe Brothers were my Great Uncles.

    1. Thanks for writing, Betty, you have every reason to be proud of them.

  4. Mi’kmaq?

    When I had my ancestry DNA done, there was 3% Native American on my pie chart. I’m not too sure of the accuracy of this test, but can’t help being curious. Any Colombes know of Mi’kmaq in the family?

    1. This is the information I am also seeking. Did you find any answers? I was told Susan Colombe (Benoit) was Mi’kmaq.
      I am a great great grandchild of Susan and Frank Sr.

  5. 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. I just found them on here recently as well. My grandmother, Nancy Colombe Young, was their sister. I, too, was very excited to find this. On the census, however, they have their death dates for their birth dates. Sometimes we have to get there the “weeds” to try to piece things together.

      Carol Stepanis
      Massachusetts USA

    3. They are my Grandmother’sIsabell (Cilombe)Brufattos older brothers So they are my great uncle’s ,my Nanny was the youngest in the family.

      1. Hi Mary… My grandfather was Dave Colombe(your mother’s brother) He and my grandmother Bridget raised me. He often spoke of your Mother, He called her Bell.I’m not sure if she visited us one summer . Did she live in Nova Scotia? He had a sister named Genevieve. She lived in Corner Brook. She was married to Jerry Lyver. She came to visit often. They all spoke French. I was just a child , then.

        1. Your grandfather Dave , was my grandmothers brother. Isabel Columbe was the youngest of 16 that lived. Everyone called her Bell, yes she moved as a 15,16 year old to Glace Bay Cape Breton Nova Scotia.Her sisters Mercedes(Mercy) and Cecelia both of whom I knew had big families and Bell went to help with their children. 2 of Aunt Cecelia daughters are still alive.I visited there often. Aunt Genivive visited us in Toronto, Ontario often. I know of the Lyvers as Aunt Genivive daughter Mary lived in Collingwood Ontario for many years and I met her the year before she died in the last 10 years .pls feel free to contact me.

  6. Amazing read! I am so proud to say that this is my family!

    1. Hi Kim, thanks and I’m glad you saw this. You’ve got every reason to be proud. 🙂

  7. 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!

  8. Amazing Dorothy, you need to publish another book

    1. Thanks, Arlene, yes, lots of material out there! It’s great when you happen to come across it.

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