Person    | Male  Born 10/2/1870  Died 4/2/1959

Major General Clifford Coffin, VC, CB, DSO & Bar

Categories: Armed Forces

Countries: Belgium

War dead, WW1 i

Commemorated on a memorial as having died in WW1.

Born in Blackheath. On 31st July 1917, he was 47 years old and a temporary brigadier general in the Corps of Royal Engineers where he was commanding the 25th Infantry Brigade in Westhoek, Belgium. When his progress was held up owing to heavy gunfire, he went forward to inspect his front posts. Although under heavy fire and in full view of the enemy, he showed an utter disregard of personal danger, walking quietly from shell-hole to shell-hole, giving advice and cheering his men by his presence. His conduct had a great effect on all ranks, and it was largely owing to his courage that the shell-hole line was held. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry.

In addition to the information contained on his Wikipedia page, our researches show that he was the younger son of Lieutenant General Sir Issac Campbell Coffin, KCSI (1802-1882) and his second wife Catherine Eliza Coffin née Shepherd (1836-1903). On 7 April 1870 he was baptised at St Paul's Church, Greenwich, where the baptismal register confirms that his father was a Lieutenant General and that the family were residing in Dartmouth Lodge, Blackheath.

In the 1871 census he is shown as living at 9 St John's Park South, Greenwich, with his parents, his elder brother Campbell Coffin (1876-1952) and his maternal uncle Lieutenant Charles Edward Shepherd (1843-1932), together with a cook, a nurse, a parlour-maid and an under-nurse.

On 22 August 1894 he married Helen Douglas Jackson (1869-1949) at St Bartholomew's Church, Camden, where the marriage register shows that he was a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers residing at Spike Island, Ireland, whilst his wife was described as a spinster living at 29 Mecklenbugh Square, Camden.

He saw service in the Second Boer War for which he received the Queen's South Africa Medal with four clasps: Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Dreifontein & Transvaal, and the King's South Africa Medal with two clasps: South Africa 1901 & South Africa 1902.

He and his wife had four children: Geoffrey Coffin (b.1898),Kathleen Coffin (1904-1998), Damaris Coffin (1906-1975) and Humphrey Coffin (1907-1973).  When their son Humphrey Coffin was baptised on 4 February 1908 at Durrington Parish Church, Wiltshire, the baptismal register shows him to have been a Major in the Royal Engineers and the family were living at East End Manor, Durrington.

The 1911 census shows him as a Major in the Royal Engineers living at 17 Carmalt Gardens, Putney, with his wife and their three youngest children, together with a nurse. Their eldest son was boarding at Stebbington House School, Stebbington, Fareham, Hampshire.

The 1939 England and Wales register describes him as a retired Major General, living at Rystcot, Haywards Road, Haywards Heath, Sussex, with his wife and their daughter, Damaris.   

His wife died on 30 November 1949 and she was buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Coleman's Hatch, Shepherds Hill, Hartfield, TN7 4HF.

Probate records confirm that his address had been Whitbourne, Museum Road, Torquay, Devon, when he died, aged 88 years, on 4 February 1959. He was buried within the same grave as his wife. Probate was granted on 19 May 1959 to Kathleen Brown (married woman) and Thomas Hugh Evans (chartered surveyor) and his effects totalled £34,620-13s-9d.

Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk and Andrew Behan.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Major General Clifford Coffin, VC, CB, DSO & Bar

Commemorated ati

Clifford Coffin VC

The plaque is on the ground near the Lewisham war memorial.

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