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Francis William Gerrity

Rank: Private
Town/Village: Manchester
Catholic Parish:
Alternative Address: Castlrea, Co. Roscommon; Carlingford, Co. Louth; Kells, Co. Meath;
Census 1901:
Census 1911:
Regiment/Unit: Connaught Rangers, 1st Battalion/ Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1st Battalion
Regiment Number: 32400/ [20667 (19878 - erroneously given on reenlistment)]
Date of Death: 01-11-1965
Cause: Originally believed to have been Killed in action; survived
Memorial: Pozieres Memorial, Pozieres, Somme, France.

Francis was born 15 September 1897 Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, but with the postal address of Co. Longford. His family moved to Manchester, where he enlisted. He went to the Western front on New Year's Day 1916, but had initially been awarded the 1914-15 Star.

Francis had an almost unique military career. He was initially tried for desertion in May 1916, but continued serving with the R.I.F. until March 1918. He claimed to have been given 14 days furlough from the 21 March 1918, which coincided with what has been dubbed the second-worst day in British military history, which was the first day of the German Spring Offensive of 1918, a.k.a. Operation Michael. He later stated that he visited his parents in Manchester where he was convinced to desert; he laid low in Castlereagh for a year or so. In the confusion of war, Frank was presumed to have been a casualty of the Spring Offensive. 

In 1919, Francis enlisted with the 1st Connaught rangers under the assumed name of William Keenan (a.k.a. Frank Keenan). There he was deployed to India, and was one of the participants in the Connaught Rangers mutiny there. Gerrity gave a full account of his involvement in his claim for a pension arising out of this action. He was tried, convicted and served time in Maidstone Prison until all of the surviving mutineers were released in 1923. After this time, Frank returned to Ireland and joined An Gárda Síochána (No 3181).

Parents Names:
Notes: Frank was married to Helena, and they had, by 1937, six children. Frank was attached to Carlingford before transferring to Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan. He died at his daughter's house in Kells, Co. Meath from natural causes.

Link to CWGC entry; link to Civil Record of Death; Irish Military Archives pension record; likely Civil Record of Marriage

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