Francis was born on 25th September 1899 in Croy, east of Inverness to parents George and Helen, their first child, listed aged eighteen months old residing at Easter Little Croy on the 1901 census.
His life story then jumps to 1915 when he joined the Navy for twelve years service leaving his farm servant job behind. He was recorded as 5’3” tall with dark brown hair, grey eyes and had a fresh complexion. He joined HMS POWERFUL as a Boy 2nd Class on 3rd November 1915 until 5th May 1916 then transferred to HMS GANGES from 6th May 1916 to 28th September 1916, rising in rating to Signal Boy on 4th August 1916.
He was then transferred to the shore depot HMS VIVID I to await a posting, from 29th September 1916 until 14th November 1916 before heading up to Orkney to join his one and only ship’s posting to HMS VANGUARD on 15th November 1916 until the ship exploded on 9th July 1917.
Francis was just seventeen years old when he was killed. He was awarded the Victory and British war medals following his death. The medals and his death penny were issued to his father, his mother was named in receipt of his pension.
(#305 - 4/843)
1901 Scotland Census
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 743
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 007 (1914 - 1919)
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/7; Scan Number: 0023
Scotland, National War Memorial Index, 1914-1945 The Scottish War Memorial; Edinburgh, Scotland; The Scottish National War Memorial: Roll of Honour for Scots
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 94
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 002/0003/ACO-ADA
Photo images courtesy of Scapa Flow Museum, Hoy, Orkney