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Edwards Frank

Frank Edwards

 

Frank Edwards was born in 1907 to Belfast Catholic parents who relocated to Waterford. His father served, and died, in the British Army during the First World War. His elder brother, Jack Edwards, was the Waterford organiser of the one-day general strike against the enforcement of conscription in Ireland. Jack was active in the Irish War of Independence and then joined the Irregulars in the Irish Civil War. In Kilkenny Gaol, he was shot "trying to escape" as a reprisal for a Free State officer killed in Waterford.

 

While teaching at Mount Sion Christian Brothers School, Waterford, Frank Edwards became the Waterford leader of the Republican Congress in 1934. When Edwards denounced local slum-landlords, not realising that some of the property was owned by the Catholic Church, this brought him to the notice of Archdeacon Byrne. A bishop ordered that he should be removed from his teaching post.

 

In late 1936 Edwards went to Spain as a member of the Connolly Column, fought in the Front at Lopera and was wounded at Las Rozas on the Madrid Front.

 

He returned to Ireland, where he was now blacklisted, lost a post with Pye Radio for organising a union, worked as a labourer laying pipes, and, at the outbreak of the Second World War, found a teaching post at Zion School, a Jewish foundation on the South Circular Road. He retired thirty years later from this "temporary" post.

 

Edwards was a founder in 1946, and Secretary from 1955 of the Ireland-Soviet Friendship Society and a life long Communist.

 

He died on 7th June 1983.