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The Airmen's Stories - F/O N I C Francis


Noel Inglis Chalmers Francis was born in Brighton, Sussex on 12th August 1918 and attended Allhallows Prep School in Honiton. He then entered Radley College in 1932.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission in April 1938.

In early 1940 he was serving with the Sumburgh Fighter Flight in the Shetlands. On 21st June 1940 he was on a routine patrol in Gladiator N5716 when the engine failed. He was able to force-land on the beach at Haroldswick, Isle of Unst but the aircraft ran into shallow water and overturned. Francis escaped unhurt.


Above image courtesy of and copyright Radley College.


He was posted to 247 Squadron on its formation on 1st August 1940. The squadron was also equipped with Gladiators and operated from Roborough (now Plymouth City Airport) in defence of Plymouth dockyards.

On 22nd November 1940 his Gladiator N5649 crashed on takeoff at St. Eval but Francis escaped injury.

He was killed on 9th December 1941 when instructing in Master III W8578 of 5 SFTS. It dived into the ground, cause unknown, near Cheswardine, Shropshire. His pupil, LAC RW Hinde, was also killed.

Francis is buried in St. Peter's churchyard, Stoke-upon-Tern, Shropshire.





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