Frederick Coombs

Date of birth: June 1894
Place of birth: Freemantle, Southampton
Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps
Battalion: 26th (3rd Wessex) Field Ambulance
Rank / Service No: Private, 461159
Died: 6th July 1917, aged 23 years
Buried: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinghe, Belgium (Plot XIV, Row B, Grave 6)


Frederick was one of 10 siblings (only 9 shown here) born to Ernest James and Alice Sarah Coombs (nee Bessant), who married in Southampton in 1880.

Ernest was born in Salisbury in 1858 and he died in Southampton in 1933. Alice was born in Southampton in 1858 and she passed away in the city in 1926.



Ernest James   b. 1881 Freemantle   d. 1954 Enford, Wiltshire

Alice Florence   b. 1883 Freemantle   d. 1959 Southampton   Marrried Thomas Morgan in Southampton in 1904.

Albert Edward   b. 1884 Freemantle   d. 1972 New Forest   Married Barbara Lake in Southampton in 1912.

Kate Rose   b. 1885 Freemantle   d. 1972 Southampton   Married Frederick J. Rout in Southampton in 1913.

Ethel May   b. 1888 Freemantle   d. 1893 Southampton

Louisa   b. 1890 Freemantle   d. 1967 Southampton   Married Alfred Parsons in Southampton in 1909.


Henry (Harry) John   b. 1896 Freemantle d. 1967 Southampton   Married Irene Coombs (!) in Southampton in 1922.

George Thomas   b. 1900 Freemantle   d. 1988 Southampton   Married Beatrice C. Murray in Southampton in 1927.


The 26th Field Ambulance served with the 8th Division and was formed at Hursley Park during October 1914, from regular army units returning from around the British Empire.

They landed in France in November 1914 and moved to Flanders in early 1917.


Poperinghe was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields.

Close to the front, but out of the extreme range of most German artillery, it became a natural place to establish Casualty Clearing Stations.

There is a possibility that Frederick was killed during a German air-raid. They realised how important Poperinghe was to the Allies, and it was the only way to strike.


Commonwealth forces began using the cemetery in June 1915; it holds 9,901 Commonwealth WW1 burials.


Frederick’s headstone reads: “Greater love hath no man that he giveth his life for his brethren.”



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 24th June 2016


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