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Frank Morcom

(1894 -1917) – Uncle Frank?

Frank Morcom, who lived at Stuart House, was killed in action in 1917. When a photograph of him was included in a recent exhibition, his family said 'We don't think that picture is of Uncle Frank' and produced a coloured portrait of a very different individual...

Credit: Stuart House

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Frank Clifford Morcom was killed in action on 8th May 1917, aged 23. This picture of Frank Morcom (on the right) hangs in a prominent position in Liskeard and as such was reproduced at an exhibition in the town. However, his family approached the curator and revealed that “We don’t think that picture is of Uncle Frank”. Following a visit home a coloured portrait was produced (on the left). Although obviously of different people, it’s hard to know which is the real Frank Morcom, although it seems likely that the family portrait is the genuine article. This is supported by comparing the uniforms worn at that time, although this is not conclusive, as well as looking at the age of the subjects (Morcom was only 23 when killed).

Frank Morcom was educated privately and worked in engineering prior to the war. He was a Second Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry but at the time of his death was attached to the 1st Battalion. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial and on a small plaque in Wesley Church.  His death, aged just 23, was reported in the Cornish Times in May 1917.  

 ‘ SECOND-LIEUT. FRANK C MORCOM KILLED BY SHELL FIRE

Second-Lieut. Frank C Morcom, DCLI, second son of Mr and Mrs G G Morcom, Stuart House, Liskeard, was killed in action by shell fire somewhere in France, whilst in the trenches with his men… In a letter to the widow, conveying this information, the Adjutant of the Battalion says: “The Battalion had a very bad time, especially the Company he was in, as they were under intense shell fire all day long, and suffered heavily. Your husband was always very cheery, and it was a pleasure to have him in the mess; besides that he was an excellent officer and very keen. Please accept all my sympathy”. The Colonel commanding the Battalion has also written a letter of sympathy to the widow, and referring to the work of the young officer wrote: “Your husband behaved splendidly and was a magnificent example to his men. He was a most promising officer and his loss is greatly felt. Please accept from me and the whole of the Regiment our deepest sympathy with you and the remainder of his family”’.

The true identity of the subject of the other portrait remains unknown.