Francis E. Byrne

  • Born: June 25, 1924
  • Died: January 3, 2019
  • Location: Manchester, New Hampshire

Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory

1799 Elm St
Manchester, NH 03104

Tel. (603) 625-6951

Tribute & Message From The Family

Requiem for a True Hero

Most recently, our family and friends, and for that matter, the entire United States of America, and Fran's companion of 15 years, Rita Morrissette have lost one of the best friends we have ever had. Of the fewer than 4000 World War II veterans still living today, Francis Byrne, or Fran, as he preferred to be called, has passed away at the age of 94.

This comes as a tremendous loss to us all, as Fran was not only extremely magnanimous in his generosity but also a man of Honor, distinction, dignity and

Unlike many veterans, Fran was not reserved in speaking about his experiences in the war, even as he suffered from PTSD. He landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. From Normandy, he fought his way through to the end of the war, whereupon he found himself in a place called The Ardennes Forest in Belgium. This final battle, known as the Battle of the Bulge, was Hitler's last attempt to win the war, and transpired in December,1945. It was the coldest winter on record, and Fran suffered frostbite in both, his feet and ears. In fact, he had lost all feeling in his feet throughout the rest of his life, as the frostbite had therein deadened the nerve endings. He also developed cancer on the top of his ears and nose, said cancer which needed to be cut off whenever it presented itself. However, this great man was not one to complain. He proudly talked about his experiences to whomever was interested in learning about them. A case in point: here is just one story this hero told from the many traumatic episodes he experienced while he was in France.

As his platoon was walking down a road toward a small town in France, a Nazi sniper was shooting at them, picking off his fellow soldiers one by one. Many men from his unit were killed. Fran was determined to find this culprit and put an end to the bloodshed of his friends. He noticed the German sniper shooting from a bell tower in the town Church. He waited patiently for the Nazi to once again rear his head to take another shot. When he did, Fran took careful aim, and was able to shoot and kill the German, thereby preventing any further bloodshed. Fran did not relish in telling this story, but one could sense that he was modestly prideful about saving the lives of more members of his platoon.

Fran also suffered throughout his entire life from shrapnel in his leg. He received this when a soldier walking in front of him stepped on a landmine. The shrapnel went into Fran's shin bone, and could never be removed without doing more nerve damage. Fran didn't receive his Purple Heart for this injury until 75 years later, as the lieutenant in charge of writing up the proper documentation for Fran to receive his Purple Heart, was killed the following day.

As all War veterans will tell you, the true heroes were the ones who never came home. However, Francis Byrne was One True Hero who did come home.
Here is a man who was as humble as the rest of us wish we could be.
Rest in peace, dear friend Fran..... You shall most assuredly be missed...... By all.

A committal service with full military honors was held on Monday, January 7, 2019 in the NH State Veterans Cemetery, Boscawen.
Donations may be made in his memory to the Veterans Count program, Care of Easter Seals of NH, 555 Auburn St, Manchester, NH 03103.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Fran, The past seventeen years of having met you were a Blessing, The Blood that was shed in Normandy and through out the wars,by our courageous men and women bought our freedom to exist as a Free Nation
For which we give you Honor, The Blood that was shed on the cross gave us forgiveness and eternal life, On Thursday you entered into that life for your full reward and laid it all at the feet of Jesus who's Blood sacrifice you fully understood! Thanks to you Fran And all our veterans , You will be missed But We Will See You Again and Rejoice together again in Victory!

Posted by Art & Pauline Proulx - Manchester, NH - Family Friend   January 08, 2019

Dear Maddy, my deepest condolences to you, your mom, your entire family, and all those who loved Fran. He was blessed to have you in his life, to care for him these last years, to love him and help his lifelong dream come true. May you find comfort in knowing how much he loved all of you.

Posted by Kelley Cap - Concotd, NH   January 07, 2019

Dianne, Sorry for your loss.

Posted by Pamela Mitchell - Danville, NH - Family   January 06, 2019

Dianne, So sorry for your loss.

Posted by Pamela Mitchell - Danville, NH   January 06, 2019

Maddy, our sympathy to you and your family. Francis often said the last fifteen years with Mama Rita was the best of his life!! He was so grateful and appreciated calling you family. You were there for him when he needed your most and I remember he called you his "daughter"!! Your efforts getting him his Purple Heart was heartfelt and one of his last wishes. RIP Francis!!! Lorraine & Bob

Posted by Lorraine Fosher - Manchester, NH   January 06, 2019

May the God of of all comfort strengthen the family of Francis E. Byrne during this time of deep sorrow. Those who pass on God keeps in his memory because they are precious in his eyes. My sincerest condolences. Psalm 116:15

Posted by J B    January 06, 2019

Mr.Byrne, Thank you for your service RDM Windham NH

Posted by A friend   January 05, 2019

I had the opportunity to meet Francis when he came to Elliot Hospital. I was the valet (Bill) who spent some time always speaking to him about his service record..Being an ex-history teacher and having a father who was in WWII it was very easy for me to connect with Francis . I was so happy to see that he was able to receive his Purple Heart prior to his passing. I always ended our quick conversation with a quick millitary salute which he returned to me. I feel blessed having been able to meet Francis - Bill

Posted by Bill Ruwell - Dunbarton, NH - Friend   January 05, 2019

God bless you and thank you for your service to your country.

Posted by - MA   January 05, 2019

"Francis, Jeanne and I met you several years ago when you first met your dear friend Rita who just happened to be Jeanne's sister. As such we met on several occasions and you and I a[ways greeted each other with a military salute, it just seemed to be so appropriate and I had the honor of saluting you at the time you received the Purple Heart medal. I shall never forget that moment.
Jeanne and Ron also realized that your time on Earth was short and were hoping that you would be able to experience the honor that you waited for so many years. May you rest in Peace
Robert, Jeanne and Ronald Chandonnet Laconia N,H. Jan,4, 2019

Posted by Robert Chandonnet - Laconia, NH - Family Friend   January 04, 2019

your story was very
heartfelt. Thank you for your dedication and service to our country. May you be rewarded the ultimate reward in Heaven! May the good Lord comfort all your family and friends.
Fly high Francis!

Posted by an admirer    January 04, 2019



Posted by JOE PERRY - TILTON NHVH, NH   January 04, 2019

Rest In Peace Uncle Fran

Posted by Gail Goldstein Spellman - Atkinson, NH - Family   January 04, 2019

He will be sorely missed by his friends at Sundance Village.

Posted by Kathy Gill - Manchester, NH - Neighbor   January 04, 2019

Maddy, To your mother and your entire family, my deepest sympathies on the loss of Francis. May he rest in peace. Denise Reed

Posted by Denise Reed - Manchester, NH - Friend   January 04, 2019

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