Francis died on 2 February 2000, aged almost 87.

Sgt FV Martin
Sgt FV Martin

He enlisted at Reading on 17 February 1931 into the Cavalry of the Line and was posted to the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, then stationed at Beaumont Barracks, Aldershot, on 23 February 1931.

On 4 October 1932 he rode with the Regiment from Aldershot to their new post, the Cavalry Barracks at Hounslow. The Regiment moved with over 400 horses.

He sailed with the Regiment on 19 December 1933 for Cairo, arriving at Main Barracks, Abbassia on New Year’s Eve. He took full advantage of the facilities offered in Cairo. The Regiment took part in various manoeuvres in the desert. In 1935, St Patrick’s Day was spent in the desert near Helwan.

He took part in the last mounted parade of the Regiment on Armistice Day 1935 near Coombe Hill.

In June 1936 he moved with the Regiment to Palestine, mainly in the Gaza Beersheba area, to help in suppressing the disturbances between the Arabs and the Jews. They were involved in patrolling, road reconnaissance and airport protection. The Regiment returned to Cairo in June 1937. Francis had left in November to return to Cairo prior to returning home, having completed his six-year service.

He arrived in the UK in January 1937 and was released to the Reserve in June 1937.

He was recalled on 12 September 1939 and was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force, returning to the UK on 10 December 1939. He then joined the Nottingham (Sherwood Rangers) Yeomanry. He took part in operations with the Sherwood Rangers in Palestine, Egypt and North West Europe. He also spent three months in Cyprus from October 1940 to January 1941.

He was released on 4 March 1946.

On return to civilian life, he became a driver for the RAF from April 1946 to June 1957. Francis joined Tilbury Construction as a transport manager in June 1957 until he retired in September 1978. Francis moved from Reading to Bournemouth for the rest of his retirement where he lived with his wife, Margaret. They had just celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary

Francis was a loyal member of the Regimental Association and a regular attendee at Association events. He became a familiar figure at the Cavalry Memorial Service and Parade in his wheelchair at the head of the Regiment’s contingent, with his son Michael providing the propulsion.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars