Jack Francis

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Jack Noel Francis was born in Reading on the 11th December 1921. His parents were Edwin Francis and Emily Butcher.

On 27th October 1942 he married Eve Carter at Stoney Cross. They had three children, Terry, Jenny, and Margaret.

He died, aged 63, in Gainsborough (on the 27th April 1983)

Second World War

During the Second World War Jack served in the Royal Air Force (service number 47316).

He was in 299 squadron, which on the 17th September 1944 played a critical part by dropping paratroopers and towing gliders for operation Market Garden at Arnhem. Two days later on the 19th September 1944 Jack was the radio operator of the lead Stirling plane in 299 squadron, piloted by Wing Commander Davies D.F.C, leader of the squadron. Seventeen planes of 299 squadron were resupplying the Airborne-Forces in Arnhem with 24 containers and 4 panniers at drop zone "V" just after 4:30 in the afternoon. All planes managed to drop their supplies, but Jack's plane (either LK135 or EF319, and 5G-N) was hit by anti-aircraft guns, and caught fire, but continued to drop their supplies before the plane crashed. Jack managed to get out of the plane and parachuted to the ground. But he was then captured and sent to the prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft 1 which was situated at Barth, Germany, a small town on the Baltic Sea.

Many details of the plane being shot down are given by the website of the town where the plane came down.

The following information was found on the Netherlands Military History web site in a list of plane losses for 1944:

"Volgnr" Date Time Place of Loss/Crash Plane Type Number Unit (1st) Pilot B/O
T4166 44-09-19 16:33 Schaarsbergen (Kemperbergerweg) Stirling IV EF319 299 Sqdn W/Cdr P.B.N. Davies B

Stalag Luft I

After being captured Jack was kept as a prisoner of war (number 5970) in Stalag Luft I, in Barth. His room was South - Barrack 10 - Room 11



19.9.44 Stirling IV EF319 299 Sqdn RAF W/C Peter Brian Newsom Davis DSO, RAFVR - Pilot - killed Dvr Richard Entwistle Ashton RASC - Dispatcher - killed F/Lt Fred Mason RAFVR - Nav/Bomber - killed S/L Cecil Aubrey Gerald Wingfield RAF - killed buried at Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Netherlands Schaarsbergen, north of Arnhem, Kemperbergerweg, Holland T/O Keevil failed to return from resupply mission to Arnhem a/c crashed 16.33 hrs at Schaarsbergen, north of Arnhem, Kemperbergerweg, Holland The dispatcher was from 63 Comp Coy


W/C Davis, D.S.O., F/L R.Lovegrove, D.F.C. F/L Mason, F/L J. Francis, F/L

Chalk, D.F.C., and Sgt Auld and also a passenger S/L Wingfield from Group.

This Aircraft was seen to be in flames and crashed on the D.Z..