Francis Edward Llewellyn Coombs



He served in the South African (Boer) War from 1899 to 1901. His main occupation after the war was Canadian Press Telegrapher. He was a Telegraph Operator during World War I. He was also a Teacher/Instructor teaching Morse Code, Basic Radio and Signaling.

Il a servi dans la guerre d'Afrique du Sud (Boer) de 1899 à 1901. Sa principale occupation après la guerre était celle de Canadian Press Telegrapher. Il était opérateur télégraphique pendant la Première Guerre mondiale. Il était également enseignant/instructeur enseignant le code Morse, les bases de la radio et de la signalisation.


Francis Edward Llewellyn Coombs was born on September 25, 1876, in Aylmer, Ontario. While a teenager, Francis joined the 39th Norfolk Cadet/Band Corps as a Bugler/Cadet. At the age of 17, Francis joined the military in Ontario.


5th Royal Scots

At the age of 19, Francis joined the 5th Battalion"Royal Scots of Canada" in Montreal


2nd Canadian Regiment - South African (Boer) War


At the age of 23, on December 20, 1899, Francis was activated in The Royal Canadian Artillery. He was then attached to the 2nd Canadian Regiment and served in the South African (Boer) War until 1901 when he was discharged. After the South African Boer War, Francis's main occupation was Canadian Press Telegrapher. He also took a course in journalism at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and studied Philosophy at University of Toronto. He spent 18 years working for the Associated Press as a writer.


Above is a photo of Francis E.L. Coombs listening to his radio set. This is the set he would have used in 1912 to pick up radio signals from RMS Carpathia during and after the sinking of RMS Titanic.


During World War 1, Francis worked as a Telegraph operator and was employed by the US Army as an Instructor/Examiner teaching Morse Code, Basic Radio and Signaling. After the First World War, Francis returned to Ottawa to work for what is now Scouts Canada. He was the Founder and Editor of the Leader Scout magazine, founded in November 1923. He was also the author of many Scouting publications and the original Director of the Maritime Gilwell Summer Camp. He served in that position for 12 years, beginning in 1922.


Above is the Rotary Portrait of Francis E.L. Coombs taken by Photographer Yousuf Karsh. Negatives housed by Library and Archives Canada (Portrait Portal)

Obituary - Avis de décès

Francis Edward Llewellyn Coombs

25 September 1876 - 2 August 1968


Francis Edward Llewellyn Coombs passed away at the age of 91 on August 2, 1968, in Ottawa, Ontario. He is resting at the Pinecrest Cemetery, 2500 Baseline Road, Ottawa, Ontario.


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